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Members of the LGBTQ community are underrepresented in current legislation and have inadequate recourse in cases where they are fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes due to their sexual orientation.
Last week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the longest-running African American civil rights organization in the United States, stated its support for a federal LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill.
The bill, known as the Equality Act, was reintroduced to Congress early last month by Democrat sponsors Senator Jeff Merkley and House Representative David Cicilline. Members of the LGBTQ community are underrepresented in current legislation and have inadequate recourse in cases where they are fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes due to their sexual orientation.
The implementation of the Equality Act would clarify federal sex discrimination laws, expand protections to include public spaces such as entertainment venues, stores, and transportation services, and prevent misuse of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as a license to discriminate. The Act would also include gender identity on the list of protected categories.
The NAACP confirmed their support after the former president of the gay conservative organization Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo pointed them out in an article claiming they were not behind the bill.
For more than a century the @NAACP has been at the forefront of the fight for equality in this country. Thrilled to have this important organization join the growing chorus of voices supporting the #EqualityAct. Thank you @DerrickNAACP for your leadership. https://t.co/lL31hyRRMu
NAACP DC Bureau Director Hilary Shelton says the organization expressed support in previous meetings with its sponsoring Congress members and states that “it is important that it gets through.” Shelton cited the body's previous support for the LGBTQ community, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Affordable Care Act.
The NAACP also supported the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to be added to the classes covered by hate crime legislation.
“We believe the same protections that we have worked for so hard over the 110 years of the NAACP should be extended to all Americans, particularly members of the LGBTQ community,” Shelton said.
Currently, the bill has garnered significant support from the House. It is yet to be determined whether Senate support will be sufficient enough to pass it into law.
If passed, the United States will join the over 70 countries that have implemented similar protections for LGBTQ people.