Statement on the Equality Act

Today Advocates for Youth joins over 288 organizations from across the country in endorsing the Equality Act. The Equality Act was reintroduced in the 116th Congress today by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in the House of Representatives and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly mentioned in federal anti-discrimination legislation, leaving LGBTQ folks, including youth, with very little recourse when facing discriminatory practices; the Equality Act seeks to fix that. The Equality Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include LGBTQ people and to strengthen protections for all people — including women, religious minorities, and people of color. These protections would make discrimination in public places, schools, restaurants and shelters illegal. It would also ensure that institutions receiving federal funding cannot refuse services based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

In 30 states, LGBTQ youth are at risk of being fired, refused housing, or denied services simply because of who they are. The Equality Act is a step in the right direction in supporting young people’s health and well-being. We applaud Members of Congress for introducing this pivotal legislation and recognizing that a growing majority of Americans, across communities and ideologies, oppose discrimination against LGBTQ communities.