VIDEO: Equality Act Introduced

Lambda Legal reacts:

We applaud the introduction of this essential bill. Today, it spotlights the pervasive, unjust, and unacceptable discrimination facing LGBT Americans and their families; when passed, it will be a crucial next step forward in ending that discrimination. Its introduction comes nearly one month after the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that made marriage equality the law of the land and just one week after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) landmark ruling in Baldwin v. Foxx that the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, properly understood, protect employees who suffer workplace discrimination because of their sexual orientation. LGBT equality keeps advancing because fairness is a fundamental American value.

The ACLU reacts:

Today is a historic day that has been decades in the making. The Equality Act would transform the lives of countless women and LGBT people. Our country’s most basic promise of equal treatment under the law will never be real if you fear losing your job, being kicked out of your home, denied access to healthcare or turned away from a business because of who you are. Both the lack of clear and explicit federal protections for LGBT people and the lack of protections for women in core areas of American life are unacceptable. We urge Congress to take up this landmark bill and make our country a more just nation for all.

The Center For American Progress reacts:

This historic legislation would provide clear and vital protections from discrimination for LGBT Americans in all areas of life, from the workplace to the public marketplace. Despite last month’s historic Supreme Court decision, many LGBT people and their families live in constant fear that discrimination could lurk around any corner at school, in the office, or on Main Street. Modernizing our federal nondiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and, where currently excluded, sex, will bring our laws into the 21st century and ensure that all Americans, including our LGBT friends and neighbors, are judged on their merits, can provide for their families, and live free from fear. The progressive cause in our country has always been about ensuring people can live free of fear regardless of who they are. This bill promises to be a major priority for the LGBT movement and broader progressive community moving forward, and CAP applauds Sens. Merkley, Booker, and Baldwin and Rep. Cicilline for their leadership on behalf of all Americans.

The HRC reacts:

The time has come for full federal equality — nothing more, nothing less. While America is now a marriage equality nation, the tragic reality is that millions of LGBT Americans face persistent discrimination in their lives each and every day. In most states in this country, a couple who gets married at 10 AM is at risk of being fired from their jobs by noon and evicted from their home by 2 PM, simply for posting their wedding photos online. Congress must pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBT people and their families are just as safe at work or at school as they are in their marriages. This bill will guarantee all LGBT Americans have the clear, permanent, and explicit protections from discrimination that they deserve.

  • JaniceInToronto

    Anyone want to lay the odds on this one passing?

    Chirp.

    • Gene

      hummm…same as drawing an inside straight while playing strip poker with the President, Jenna Jamison and the Queen right after you win the lottery on the day you are bit by a shark and struck by lighting….twice.
      .
      ’bout those odds 🙂

    • Bonobo

      Purely symbolic but on record.

  • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

    This won’t pass the current Congress with the Republican majorities in both houses, of course. So the Democrats are using it as a political football in an election year; that’s my beef with them. Why didn’t they introduce this when they had huge majorities in both houses and a Democrat in the White House?

    But Democrat opportunism aside, this will force a lot of Republicans in less red districts to either buck the party line or else go on record as opposing equality and fairness. And they know this is increasingly a loser for them everywhere else except in their own party’s primaries. Even 70-year-old George Pataki knows that.

    • another_steve

      “Why didn’t they introduce this when they had huge majorities in both houses and a Democrat in the White House?”

      The million dollar question, that.

      Why, when they had huge majorities in both houses and a Democrat in the White House, did they not steamroll comprehensive single-payer health care reform through?

      They fucked that one up too, so it should come as no surprise that their timing is also off on this LGBT equality bill.

      • Belthazar

        Simply, they didn’t have the votes, particularly in the Senate for cloture. Sad part, the “conservative Ds” lost in 2010 anyway.

        • another_steve

          True. A terribly lost opportunity, though. One that historians will no doubt note.

          I remember Rachel Maddow on MSNBC urging at the time that the Democrats steamroll on comprehensive health care reform while they were still in control of the congressional agenda. She was prescient. She knew that that moment — that opportunity — wouldn’t last forever.

          And she was right.

      • The times were about reducing LGBT civil rights not expanding them. Remember that DADT, DOMA were all voted on and signed into law during this dem ruled Washington DC. If someone would have brought this to the floor of the Senate during this time, it would have brought nothing but blank stares.

        • another_steve

          You’re absolutely right, biki. Back then, the votes for expanding LGBT protections — even among Democrats — just weren’t there.

          I assume in the coming weeks we’ll be hearing about how much support — among the Democratic minorities in both houses — is there for this LGBT equality bill.

          Should be interesting.

          • There will be the usual GOP defections in support of this bill. I’m nearly 100% sure that Lisa Murkowski from Alaska will vote for this. She seems to be a GOP in name only, nearly every single LGBT bill that reaches a vote she votes for.

    • RShini

      because there’s too many “Bluedogs” and other Conservative Ds trying to pander to their R constituents to allow it to pass

    • d.

      Because they were following the lead of the Human Rights Campaign, which was pushing ENDA until late 2014.

      It wasn’t HRC that got this done; it was the Center for American Progress, which saw the benefits of amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for women and LGBT people and the political upside for Democrats.

      If the community had left this to HRC, we would still be talking about ENDA.

  • Mike in Texas

    And so begins the Great Quadrennial Gaybashing Season

  • Ed Burrow

    Like I said on a previous thread, this probably will not pass. It’s designed to highlight who the bigots are.

    • another_steve

      Probably not pass? Please. Do you seriously believe the Republican leadership will even allow it to be brought to the floor of either house for debate?

      But as you suggest, it’ll highlight who the bigots are — for the benefit of any Independent voters out there who (believe it or not) honestly don’t know which party they want to go with.

      All the monster Republican candidates will be asked what they think of it — and what a joy it will be to watch them squirm.

      • Toasterlad

        They’re not going to squirm a bit. They’re going to proudly say that they don’t support it because it violates religious liberties.

        If history is any judge, we’ve got at least a decade of this shit to endure, so everyone buckle in now.

        • another_steve

          You may be right, Toasterlad, but I’m not sure.

          The monsters don’t want to alienate Independent voters. Remember: Independents decide Presidential elections these days.

          My guess is that the RNC would prefer zero discussion of queer rights now. They don’t need to “convince” their monstrous base and they don’t want to alienate the “undecideds.”

          My guess is that part of the Democratic Party’s rationale for introducing this bill at this time is precisely to make life miserable for the Republican Presidential candidates.

        • BudClark

          In a decade, I’ll be eighty, if I’m still here.

          Sigh.

          • Toasterlad

            Hang in there, Bud!

      • Sporkfighter

        “Probably not pass? Please. Do you seriously believe the Republican leadership will even allow it to be brought to the floor of either house for debate?”

        They’ll find a way to stall it in a closet, lose it at a restaurant, have the dog eat it, anything so they wont have to address it.

        • another_steve

          Lol.

          Speaker Boner will claim that the House is far too busy taking its 300th vote to repeal Obamacare to deal with this bill.

          • BudClark

            You mean Johannus Flaccidus? Alcohol does NOT contribute to boners, usually.

  • i was having a discussion with one of my extremely simple-minded former classmates on Facebook, who seemed genuinely concerned “with religious liberty” – and i pointed out, it’s not religious liberty. none of it is. it’s just an excuse to discriminate, cheapening religion in the process by using it as justification. no amount of specific examples given or even analogizing seemed to work. he’s a white wealthy southern christian straight dude, who’s never once experienced any form of discrimination, ever. ironic, isn’t it? they care not about those who experienced discrimination regularly, and continue to, but only about the perceived threat that one day they may be treated as badly as they’ve treated, and allowed others to be treated, for years.

    • StraightGrandmother

      I get that. It is going to take a heck of a campaign to expose the truth. I don’t know if this iteration will pass in public opinion or in Congress but I know one thing,

      “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

      This is not something we can win in the Courts, this has to be a political win.

      • Gustav2

        Since you are the Queen of Twitter I thought you might like this OT:

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cardales-jones-osu-black-lives-matter

      • BudClark

        At least if it comes to a vote, we’ll have a firm list of who to campaign against in 2016.

      • JT

        Actually, it is something that can be won in the courts.

        • StraightGrandmother

          I do not think it can be won in the Courts. Our Constitution tells the Government what they can and cannot do. Our Constitution doesn’t tell citizens how they have to treat other citizens. But I’m open to listing to you.

    • Rocco Gibraltar

      This is one of the many reasons I deleted my Facebook account shortly after I set it up. I realized Suzie Q from college had lots of stuff to broadcast, and I did not give a shit. There is a reason why we lost touch with these people.

      Btw, enjoyed your interview with Matt Baume.

    • Robincho

      Tell your Facebook simpleton that’s not how it works. That’s not how ANY of this works…

    • JT

      They are the first to squeal “They’re out to get us” as soon as their privileged status is diminished by the smallest amount.

      • BudClark

        “We’re coming to get you,
        tra la, tra la!”

  • billbear1961
  • QJ201

    It doesn’t matter that it won’t pass. The important thing is the principle that all LGB rights have to be held hostage to the gender identity issues of heterosexual transsexuals. I think we can all agree that this bill accomplishes that.

    • Bill

      If you mean that you think we can all agree that you’re kind of an asshole, then yes, we are ALL in agreement on that.

      Enjoy your day.

    • rextrek1

      Im sorry but at this point – we Gay and lesbian people will NOT Leave behind the Transgendered community out of convenience…….

      • Gene

        I must agree. it wont pass anyway, so, we might as well, and I usually LOATH idealism, do the right thing and fight for Transgender people also. Its just the right thing to do, and surrendering on that point NOW would give us very little ability to fight for it later

    • Toasterlad

      Turning the predestined failure of this bill into a mean-spirited, unfair, bullshit attack on the trans community is a pretty fucking asshole move.

    • Hey! Your bigotry is showing. And while some trans folk are straight, not all of us are.

      Trans folks rights have been dumped from almost every bill, time and time again. Being told, “If we get our rights, we’ll come back for you.” Only to be left standing waiting for the equality bus to pull up at our curb.

      I don’t want any Americans left standing on the curb awaiting the freedom bus, no matter their sexual orientation, their gender identification, their sex, their color, or their religion. We are all Americans, we all deserve an equal seat at the table of equality.

    • BudClark

      So let’s toss our transsexual brothers and sisters under the bus so we can get ours?

      I don’t THINK so.

  • rextrek1

    The Gop perpetuation of hate and Bigotry continues…..

  • billbear1961

    Polls have consistently shown that even a majority of Republicans in every state of this union believe people should not face discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation.

    Indeed, most Americans believe–mistakenly, obviously–that such discrimination is already illegal in this country!

    After the “religious liberty” law fiasco in Indiana, some GOP governors in very conservative states began to speak out against blatant discrimination.

    What will be the EXCUSE of this foul GOP Congress for doing nothing to move this bill forward??

    • oikos

      Gayghazi!!!!!

      • billbear1961

        Yes, an argument of that caliber, no doubt.

      • Bill_Perdue

        As any reactionary idiot like you should know the issue with Benghazi is not who made tactical mistakes but why the US attacked nearly every nation in the region that produces resources or products that US multinationals want to steal or control.

        Both parties support that strategy of mass murder during wars of aggression. So when Republicans criticize H Clinton/B Obama for events in Libya they’re really criticizing the common policy of both parties. There are no differences between them on this and most questions.

        Both encourage and fund efforts to attack Arab and muslim nations. They’re both committed to a neo-colonial policy in North Africa and SW Asia to promote the control of the regions oil resources by American corporations. They also remain committed to a policy utilizing mass murder and state terrorism to control events and have recently done so in Iraq (again), Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Bahrain, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

        In addition the US is vastly expanding its military intervention in all of Africa and is coordinating efforts through the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). The Obama and Netanyahu regimes are rogue aggressor terrorist states with Canada, England, the Saudi royals and the rest of the NATO satellite states playing a lesser role.

        Criticisms by Republicans of the Obama regimes imperial strategy and their defense by Democrats are equally reactionary and racist, as you are.

    • David Walker

      As I understand it having read a lot of reader comments on my local news site, what looks like doing nothing to us confused, disgusting, liberal, &c. thinking people is actually doing great things for the country. I’ve tried to understand this because it keeps showing up. I’ve been unsuccessful on that. The shuffle dance is fun to watch, though.

  • People4Humanity

    Off-topic: Many of you have been worried about Eugene.
    He is alive and well. [I have no idea how he got my email addy]:

    • oikos

      Wait? No money beg?

      • People4Humanity

        6 monetbegz total. Screenshot couldn’t capture the whole long thing.

        • oikos

          Past due notices must be piling up.

    • David Walker

      Thank you. I was truly, truly concerned about his well being. (chortle)

  • Toasterlad

    Well, there goes an infuriating waste of time.

    • Gene

      well, not TOTALLY. It will make several Republicans in “swing” districts squirm a bit, AND keep the issue in the semi public eye. most people think we already have these protections…they need to hear otherwise (not that they are paying attention, but, still….)

      • Toasterlad

        At this point, all people will hear is “religious liberties, religious liberties.” It’s the perfect cover for bigots: it works long after they’ve lost the actual battle. They’ll ride this until people catch on that, “Oh, wait…when they say that, they just mean discrimination.” And that could take a long time.

        I don’t imagine anyone taking too much shit from this for several years yet. It’s one thing when a state tries to actually put in their laws that business can refuse service to a class of people. It’s another when a politician earnestly says that the rights of ALL citizens must be protected.

        • billbear1961

          Ask these fools when they seem to buy this religious liberty BS if THEY can be turned away because someone finds THEM morally unfit and offensive to his or her religious beliefs.

          What?! ME?! NO WAY!!

          Of course not! No one else! No other sinners! They ALL get a FREE PASS, as long as they’re STRAIGHT and especially if they’re Christers!

          Only the vile, evil GAYS can be punished!

          BULLSHIT!!

  • AmericanPaPISSED

    Great, another bill that will go nowhere in this ridiculous Congress.

  • YakHerder

    In 20 years when this eventually passes Congress (or more likely becomes law much sooner, via SCOTUS), let’s pour one out for Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), who introduced the first non-discrimination bill in 1974.

  • rednekokie

    All of this is commendable – but if they actually believe they will get this passed through the current congress, then I wonder about their hold on reality.
    Even though passing a bill such as this would gain the Republicans an untold wealth of votes, they’ll never do it. They’ll grudgingly stick to their banal hatred of LGBT folk and lost another election because of it.

    That’s a shame, for it will eventually pass, and the bigots will be out of office! Yep! Hooray.

    • BudClark

      It’s like Lotto:

      “You don’t win if you don’t play.”

      Put the “anti” fuckers in full-page newspaper ads, TV ads, radio ads, etc. across the country from now until Nov. 2016.

      I won’t live to see full equality, but I won’t stop fighting “as long as there’s bref in my body.” (h/t to Hattie McDaniels).

  • Sporkfighter

    Imagine a day at work . . .

    Spork: “Hey Bob, we have a lot to do before we can get this project wrapped up and out the door.”

    Bob: “You know, Spork, I’ve been trying to tell my friends something … I’m gay.”

    Spork: “Yeah, Bob. We all met Sam at the Christmas party, remember? He’s a lucky guy, you should bring him around more often. Gillian’s a teacher too, she’d like him. About that project, can we call in some help from across the hall?”

    Some day, being who you are won’t be a problem, whoever you are. I wonder if I’ll live to see it.

  • Bill_Perdue

    It’s an election year and Democrats are posturing again, just as they did earlier in 2008 when they promised action on 2008 but shoved it aside in 2009 and 2010 to pander to bigots.

    That was one of the reasons they lost the house in 2010.

    ENDA, as written before it was gutted in 2007 by Barney Frank, had more protections than the Civil Rights Acts and were widely supported by women’s groups and those representing people of color.

    We, women, people of color, immigrants and union activists should be covered by the Civil right Act which should be strengthened and become a Civil Rights Amendment with teeth.

    • d.

      Legislation that only bans employment discrimination, aka ENDA, has more protections than a law that bans discrimination in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, education, and federally-funded programs, aka the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

      ENDA has always sucked, Bill. Our community’s original goal going back to 1974 was to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This should have been our ask all along.

      • Bill_Perdue

        Agreed.

        But before the quisling Frank gutted it ENDA was seen as a bill that would strengthen the Civil Rights act and had wide support outside of the LGBT community.

        Which is why I said that “We, women, people of color, immigrants and union activists should be covered by the Civil right Act which should be strengthened and become a Civil Rights Amendment with teeth.”

    • BudClark

      Gotta agree there, Bill.

  • JT

    Equality Act introduced with 195 Democratic and 0 Republican co-sponsors

    Hateful Republiscum to a person.

    • BudClark

      I read that as “Hateful Vobiscum” (chuckle).

      Dr. Freud to a white courtesy phone, please. Paging Dr. Freud.