MIL-OSI USA: Rice, Local LGBTQ Advocates Applaud Passage of the Equality Act


Source: United States House of Representatives – Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY)

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice (NY-04) voted in support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which extends federal civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Rice is an original cosponsor of the bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 224-206. 

“Sadly, LGBTQ individuals across the country still face discrimination every day,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice. “By extending federal civil rights protections with the Equality Act, we can ensure LGBTQ Americans can finally live their lives free of unjust legal restrictions. I was proud to cosponsor this historic legislation and I’m thrilled it passed the House today. With President Biden already indicating his support for the bill, I am hopeful that the Senate will take action and send it to his desk.” 

The Equality Act provides explicit protections from discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity at work and in the context of housing, credit, education, and jury service. It also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in programs that receive federal funding and places of public accommodations. Finally, the bill expands the list of protected places of public accommodations to include retail stores, transportation services like airports, taxis and bus stations, and service providers like accountants, for all protected characteristics.   

Passage of the Equality Act was praised by LGBTQ advocates on Long Island.  

“Today marks a historic day for LGBTQ Americans who have for far too long waited for their civil rights to be protected under the law no matter where they live across our 50 states,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, President and CEO of the New York LGBT Network. “I commend Congresswoman Kathleen Rice and her Democratic colleagues for not backing down or giving up on fighting for LGBTQ people across our nation. With the Senate Leadership now in Democratic control,  we are hopeful that the Equality Act will become a reality and that every LGBTQ American can live to their fullest potential free from discrimination. It’s simple; LGBTQ rights are human rights and Congress today has taken one of the most important steps toward delivering equality and justice for all LGBTQ people and families.”   

“The Equality Act would provide explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Americans,” said Aiden Jay Kaplan, LMSW, LGBTQ Services Manager at PYF (He/They pronouns). “While so many things in life are uncertain, the question of whether you are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity should never be left to interpretation. PFY is proud to stand in support of the Equality Act and we believe strongly that protections for LGBTQ+ people lead to a safer and more just nation.” 

With passage in the House today, the Equality Act will also need to be passed in the Senate before it can be signed into law by President Biden.