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Higgins Applauds Approval of the Equality Act

May 17, 2019
Press Release
Legislation Extends Protections from Discrimination to LGBTQ Americans

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced approval in the House of Representatives of the Equality Act (H.R. 5), a bill that ensures LGBTQ Americans are equally protected from discrimination under federal law.  Higgins is an original sponsor of the bill which was introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-1) and has a total of 240 cosponsors. 

Currently only 21 states have laws that clearly make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Longstanding federal protections already exist against discrimination based on race, sex, religion or national origin.  The Equality Act amends existing civil rights laws to extend to LGBTQ Americans the same protections against discrimination in education, employment, housing, credit, federal jury service, public accommodations and the use of federal funds.

Higgins said, “Americans deserve equal protections under the law.  This legislation clarifies and solidifies our nation’s anti-discrimination policies to ensure LGBTQ Americans are included in the protection of our most basic human rights.”

The Equality Act specifically amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Employee Rights Act of 1991, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Jury Selection and Services Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in a clear and consistent way nationwide. 

The bill is supported by more than 160 corporations, 74 LGBTQ and allied organizations, the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many others.