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Congressman Higgins Recognizes Pride Month

Jun 7, 2019
Press Release
Congressman Advancing Legislation Supporting LGBTQ Rights & Protections

In recognition of Pride Month, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced his support for measures that advance and protect LGBTQ rights at the federal level. Pride each year marks a celebration of LGBTQ rights, honors history, and serves as a rallying cry for future progress. We have seen incredible progress, yet this year’s events are especially significant as LGBT Americans continue to face threats of weakening protections and attacks on rights and freedoms from the Trump Administration.

Congressman Higgins announced that he is cosponsoring several pieces of legislation, including:

  • H.R. 2931, the SERVE Act, which will guarantee hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care from the Department of Veterans Affairs for any veterans who are discharged from the Armed Forces due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act, which prohibits the gay and trans panic defense, which asks a jury to find a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as justification for a defendant’s violence.  
  • The Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act, which would block a proposed Department of Housing and Urban Development rule that would allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people access to services.

A member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, Congressman Higgins joined dozens of his colleagues in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the administration to reverse its discriminatory and cruel policy of refusing to recognize the citizenship at birth of the children of U.S. citizens in same-sex marriages.

At the beginning of Buffalo Pride Week, Congressman Higgins joined local leaders to kick off celebrations by raising the LGBTQ Pride Flag and Transgender Pride Flag in Niagara Square.  He also served as a judge for the Albright Knox Art-Gallery’s Art Alive and stopped at the Pride Festival at Canalside, events featured during the Pride Center of Western New York’s Pride Weekend.

Congressman Higgins speaks at a Pride Week event in Buffalo’s Niagara Square

Congressman Higgins gave a speech on the House floor recognizing Pride Month and the recent Pride events in Western New York, commemorating 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York City, and committing to continue fighting the administration’s discriminatory actions.

(To access video click above or go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2RFlxezfnA)

Higgins was also a cosponsor of legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which passed in the House on April 4, 2019 and includes LBGTQ protections against sexual and domestic violence. 

On May 17th, H.R. 5, the Equality Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-173. This historic legislation extends legal protections introduced by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including outlawing discrimination in housing, employment, education, and medical treatment to LGBTQ Americans. The bill was cosponsored by Rep. Higgins, supported by more than 160 corporations, 74 LGBTQ and allied organizations, and many others.