Equality Act (United States)
The Equality Act is a bill in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate that if passed would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. It was reintroduced in the 115th United States Congress on May 2, 2017.
The Equality Act updates the definitions of 3 terms:
- "sex" to include a sex stereotype, sexual orientation or gender identity, and pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition
- "sexual orientation" as homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality
- "gender identity" as gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or characteristics, regardless of the individual's designated sex at birth.
The Equality Act expands the categories of "public accommodations" to include places or establishments that provide:
- exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays
- goods, services, or programs, including a store, a shopping center, an online retailer or service provider, a salon, a bank, a gas station, a food bank, a service or care center, a shelter, a travel agency, a funeral parlor, or a health care, accounting, or legal service
- transportation services
The Equality Act prohibits "establishment" from being construed to be limited to a physical facility or place.
The Equality Act was developed by Democratic Representative to New York Bella Abzug with the help of Ed Koch (D-NY) in 1974. The Equality Act of 1974 sought to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include prohibitions on the discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and marital status. The Bill defined sexual orientation as "choice of sexual partner according to gender." On June 27, 1974, the Bill was Referred to House Committee on the Judiciary, where it died.
On July 23, 2015, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Equality Act of 2015 in the House of Representatives.
In January 2016, Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) became the first Republican Representative to co-sponsor the bill. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) became the second Republican to co-sponsor the bill in September 2016.
In January 2016, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) became the first and only Republican Senator to co-sponsor the bill.
On May 2, 2017, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Equality Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives.
On May 2, 2017, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Equality Act of 2017 in the United States Senate.
The Equality Act of 2015 has received support from Apple Inc., Dow Chemical Company, Human Rights Campaign, Levi Strauss & Co., American Airlines, Facebook, General Mills, Google, and Nike.
One major obstacle in the passage of this act to date is the fact that both houses on Congress are controlled by conservative Republicans and the current U.S. President Donald Trump opposes the Equality Act.
|Congress||Short title||Bill number(s)||Date introduced||Sponsor(s)||# of cosponsors||Latest status|
|114th Congress||Equality Act of 2015||H.R. 3185||July 23, 2015||David Cicilline
|178||Died in committee|
|S. 1858||July 23, 2015||Jeff Merkley
|42||Died in committee|
|115th Congress||Equality Act of 2017||H.R. 2282||May 2, 2017||David Cicilline
|198||Referred to committee|
|S. 1006||May 2, 2017||Jeff Merkley
|47||Referred to committee|
- "Equality Act Reintroduced in Congress with Unprecedented Corporate Support". The Rainbow Times. May 2, 2017.
- "H.R.3185 - Equality Act". US Congress. July 23, 2015. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Congress - Equality Act". WhiteHouse.gov. 2017.
- "Bob Dold of Illinois Is First Republican Cosponsor of Equality Act". The Advocate. January 15, 2016.
- Major Corporations Announce Support for Landmark Federal LGBT Non-Discrimination Legislation
- Momentum Builds: Corporate Giants Announce Support for Federal LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections
- Obama supports altering Civil Rights Act to ban LGBT discrimination
- "Hillary Clinton: The Equality Act Must Be 'Highest Priority'". The Advocate. October 18, 2015.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "H.R.3185 - Equality Act".