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Higgins announces passage of Equality Act protecting LGBTQ Americans from discrimination

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Fri, Feb 26th 2021 09:50 am

Says bill extending civil rights protections has vast support

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, a member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, announced passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5), a bill that ensures LGBTQ Americans are equally protected from discrimination under federal law.

Higgins, an original cosponsor of the bill, said, “While we have made great strides to protect the rights that members of the LGBTQ community deserve, our nation will never reach true equality until we end all discriminatory laws and practices. This long-overdue legislation addresses several outdated and discriminatory policies to ensure LGBTQ Americans are equally protected under the law.”

Damian Mordecai, executive director of the Pride Center of WNY, said, “This support of nondiscrimination protections is yet another sign that America is ready for comprehensive LGBTQ protections. We are one step closer to getting this important legislation signed into law.”

A press release stated, “Currently, in states across the country, LGBTQ Americans are not entitled to the same protections under the law as every other American. The Equality Act extends the same antidiscrimination rights that already exist based on race, sex, religion and national origin to include LGBTQ Americans across the nation. The legislation amends existing federal civil rights laws in the areas of education, employment, housing, credit, federal jury service, public accommodations and the use of federal funds.”

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 legislation has broad support from more than 600 organizations, including the AFL-CIO, American Bar Association and the Pride Center of Western New York, and it is supported by over 360 major businesses, including General Motors, 3M, Apple and UPS.

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