Washington, DC, July 23, 2015—Today, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund joined members of Congress at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to introduce the Equality Act. Led by Senator Merkley and Congressman Cicilline, and co-sponsored by 40 Senators and over 150 Representatives, the landmark legislation seeks to secure strong and explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, publicly funded programs, access to credit, and jury service. The bill also includes protections against sex discrimination in laws regarding public accommodations and federal funding.

“Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated the historic Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. It was huge, historic and life-changing for same-sex couples and their families and for the millions of people who believe in the power of love. But marriage equality is not full equality. And discrimination is one of the biggest remaining obstacles to our full equality,” said Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

In 28 states, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people still lack explicit non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations—and transgender people lack explicit non-discrimination protections in 31 states. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, ninety percent of transgender people have experienced discrimination, harassment and mistreatment in the workplace.

“In every corner of our nation, people believe discrimination is wrong. They believe that it’s wrong that in some states, you can get married Saturday and be fired Monday, that you can rent a new home on Tuesday and be evicted Friday, and that you can even take your sweetheart out for a special meal and be turned away — all because you are LGBTQ. It’s wrong; it’s terribly wrong — and frankly it’s un-American,” said Carey.

While the Equality Act will be an enormous step forward in eliminating discrimination, “it does not solve every problem facing LGBTQ people and their families, such as the ongoing anti-transgender
violence, the racial profiling by local police, the need to restore the Voting Rights Act, and the need to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.”

“We thank Leader Pelosi, Representatives Cicilline, Lewis and Senators Merkley, Baldwin and Booker for joining as original sponsors of the legislation and for their unwavering leadership. We look forward to continuing to working with them to deliver full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people.”

For decades, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund has been advocating for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. In 1975, the organization was instrumental in the introduction of the first comprehensive nondiscrimination bill in Congress by the legendary Bella Abzug; continued to push hard for more protections in the states, through the courts, and through important agency rulings; advocated for executive actions to provide more protections for both federal employees and the employees of federal contractors, and will continue to push for state and federal employment non-discrimination legislation.