Quigley pushes House to ensure full LGBT equality

Thu. July 23, 2015 12:17 PM

rep mike quigley (d-il)

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), Vice-Chair of the Equality Caucus, joined more than 130 colleagues in introducing the Equality Act, comprehensive legislation to ban discrimination against LGBT individuals in public accommodations, housing, employment, and other core areas of daily life.

"Now that all Americans have equal access to marriage, we must continue the fight to eliminate other forms of LGBT discrimination and that includes protections to make certain that no one can be denied employment, housing, public accommodation, or federal benefits because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Rep. Quigley. "The Equality Act will ensure that all LGBT Americans are afforded the same basic protections under the law as everyone else, and I am proud to help lead this effort in the House of Representatives."

The Equality Act, which is authored by Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) in the House and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate, will amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The legislation would apply to public accommodations, federal funding, education, employment, housing, credit, and jury service.

Despite last month's Supreme Court ruling that affirmed marriage equality, discrimination against LGBT individuals remains legal in most states. Today, only 19 states and the District of Columbia offer employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. And three other states have prohibitions on discrimination based solely on sexual orientation.

Only 17 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination for public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Another four prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Just 14 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in education. And only one state, Wisconsin, prohibits it based on sexual orientation.

A study conducted earlier this year by the Human Rights Campaign found that 63% of LGBT Americans have experienced discrimination in their personal lives. Another study found that one out of every 10 lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers have been fired from a job because of their sexual orientation.

Since his election to Congress in 2009, Rep. Quigley has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community. In January 2014, he became an original cosponsor of the International Human Rights Defense Act. Previously, he called on Illinois state legislators to pass marriage equality and celebrated when that day came. He is a co-sponsor of the original Respect for Marriage Act of 2009, and has lent his support to the national NOH8 Campaign, a global visual art protest against legislation banning gay marriage. Prior to the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, Rep. Quigley was a critical opponent of the law and hosted a DOMA field forum to investigate the negative impacts of the law on individuals and families in Chicago. In the fall of 2009, Rep. Quigley was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his work as a Cook County Commissioner to extend benefits to LGBT employees.

From a press release