Covering eight major areas of federal discrimination law the Equality Act of 2015 will provide protect LGBT people in public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. These protections will be made possible by amending the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the other protected classes.
“While there will be much debate about possible future pitfalls for amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it is clear to us that not doing so only allows for even greater challenges for LGBT citizens in towns and cities across our country now and in the future who can be discriminated against or fired simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender,” said Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO of the Center for Black Equity.
Each day our members live in fear of being or are actually discriminated against in their local communities. Unfortunately, because they are also primarily African Americans and people of color already historically targeted for discrimination this fear has crippling affects. The Equality Act would amend the existing area of civil-rights law covered by the 1964 act, by adding the words “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity” to the current protected classes of race, color, religion, and national origin. Currently a majority of states and cities do not offer these protections to their LGBT residents.
“It’s cruelly ironic that LGBT folks can now get married anywhere in the United States today because of the recent Supreme Court ruling, but still face discrimination in public accommodations, public education, employment, and housing for marrying their spouse. This legislation proposes to fix the inconsistencies in our laws that only serve to damage our democracy”, said Michael Hinson, Director of Policy and Programs for the Center for Black Equity.
As an organization whose mission and vision unapologetically focuses on LGBT people of color, their families and allies, the Center for Black Equity understands the concerns of some of our longstanding partners regarding amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
We recognize the significance of these conversations and are confident that such dialogue will eventually help to deliver broader support for ensuring that all people are afforded equal civil protections under the law. While we are passionate about protecting the historic steps provided in the Act, we also recognize that leaving any person without such protections is the real threat to the life of the landmark Act. We believe that inclusive justice is the overarching intention and baseline of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as the amendment that is now being offered by adding protections for LGBT citizens.