WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on May 17 passed H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which will provide civil rights protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
The Equality Act will update civil rights protections – including the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Services Act, among others – to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) urged the Senate to take up the legislation. Takano, the first openly gay person of Asian descent in Congress, noted that most states have not established protections from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
“The passage of this landmark legislation will help us right this wrong and ensure that every LGBTQ person in America, in every state, can live free from discrimination in key areas of their life,” said Takano. “Who you are and who you love should not be an impediment to freedom, equality, and justice.
“The vast majority of Americans support equal rights for the LGBTQ community, now we must demand that the Senate take up this legislation and for the president to sign it into law. Equality is within reach. Let’s make it the law of the land.”
JACL President Jeffrey Moy notes, “This year is the 25th anniversary of JACL officially endorsing marriage equality. Today’s vote shows how far we have come as a nation in recognizing that LGBTQIA+ people should be able to live without the fear of losing their rights to access education, jobs, or housing. We have a long road ahead of us, but with today’s passage of the Equality Act, we are closer.”
The Equality Act passed the House with bipartisan support. JACL, which sent a letter to the House on May 15 in support of the bill, thanked Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) for their leadership in achieving passage of the bill.
“We now turn to the Senate to join the majority of Americans in supporting the Equality Act becoming law,” JACL said in a statement.