In 2022, many LGBTQIA+ Americans
don’t have bones legal protections. Just 22 states (and Washington, D.C.) have explicit non-bigotry laws and policies on the books, which means roughly half of the queer and trans population lives in states that don’t protect their rights, jobs or access to housing, credit and teaching. The outcome? A patchwork of laws that varies from country to state.
Without a comprehensive — or permanent — federal law in place that protects queer and trans people from discrimination, members of the LGBTQIA+ community will proceed to confront obstacles that threaten and disrupt their lives. For a long time, queer and trans people, and their allies, have pushed to brand the Equality Act the police force of the land.
While the legislation gained some momentum in Congress over the last few years, it has stalled, leaving LGBTQIA+ rights hanging in the balance. So, what’southward going on with the Equality Act, and what can yous do about it?
What Is the Equality Act?
Equally you may know, the Ceremonious Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation that was set in identify to prohibit bigotry on the basis of sex, color, race, and national origin. These protections extended to educational activity, employment, public accommodations, federally funded programs and, eventually, housing. Put simply, the Equality Human action would meliorate the Civil Rights Human activity of 1964 in order to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation equally well.
Although information technology’s in the news today, the origins of the Equality Human activity stretch back to 1974 when activist and U.Due south. Representative Bella Abzug and quondam New York City mayor Ed Koch brought an anti-bigotry bill to the House of Representatives. But the endeavor to bring awareness to LGBTQIA+ rights and protections didn’t brand the news. In fact, “its introduction did not even merit mention in any media other than in the Congressional Record,” WBUR reports.
Since then, federal LGBTQIA+ anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced in all but one Congressional session. In 1996, information technology seemed like federal protections for queer and trans Americans might just become the law of the state, simply the Senate failed to laissez passer the proposed bill by a single vote. And that brings the states to today.
“On his beginning mean solar day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive guild to protect LGBTQIA+ Americans from bigotry,” writes Kate Bove in our previous coverage of the Equality Human action. “Although the order marked a milestone in ceremonious rights protections, advocates of the Equality Act desire to codify these protections, and those affirmed in the
Bostock v. Clayton County
ruling, into police force; after all, an executive society can exist undone with the stroke of a pen.”
This need for federal protections couldn’t be greater than information technology is today. From Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation to the many, many state laws targeting queer and trans youth and their families, 2022 has seen a record number of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, all of which the American Ceremonious Liberties Union (ACLU) keeps track of on their site. NPR reports that “[Every bit of Apr 2022,] there have been more than 200 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills introduced in nearly twoscore states” — a truly jaw-dropping amount.
Not only are trans students — and trans people at large — beingness systematically barred from using the restrooms that align with their gender, but trans youth are being banned from sports and harassed in schools. In states like Texas, families of trans kids were targeted for affirming their children; in Alabama, it’due south now a crime to provide gender-affirming care to trans kids.
If passed, the Equality Act would essentially nullify these discriminatory land policies, extending protections to all queer and trans Americans. This would hateful protection from bigotry, harrassment and exclusion at piece of work and school, when applying for housing, and while in public spaces, among other things.
Then, What’s the Side by side Step?
On February 25, 2021, the Firm passed the Equality, which means, as of May 2022, the next stride involves introducing the bill to the Senate so that it can exist voted on and, hopefully, passed by those lawmakers, too. That’s going to be hard, though; currently, we accept a tied senate and many Republicans who oppose the bill. A clamper of those opponents believe the Equality Act would infringe upon religious liberty and override the Religious Liberty Restoration Act.
What many of those who oppose the bill don’t realize is that religious liberty is nearly allowing people to practice their organized religion (or lack thereof) free from bigotry. Information technology does not allow Person A to dictate what other people can practice — or what freedoms they’re immune.
For example, if Person A is part of a religious denomination that forbids alcohol, they tin can’t prevent others from drinking but considering they can’t do so. In this instance, if their denomination or church discriminates confronting LGBTQIA+ people, their religious freedom still doesn’t mean they can evict, burn, not hire, or otherwise discriminate against those exterior their religion, church, or denomination.
In short, practicioners can follow their faith without dictating how someone else lives, and they shouldn’t be able to cite their religion as a reason for discriminating against others.
What Can You Practice to Aid Garner Support for the Equality Human activity?
Sure, you’re not the one who turns bills into laws, but that doesn’t hateful you’re powerless. There are enough of actions you tin take both online and off to help push the Equality Act closer to becoming the law of the state.
Contact Your Senators
Each state has 2 senators. If you live in a state where both of your senators support the bill and stated they will sign it, that’south great! Yet, you still need to contact them to evidence that you — 1 of the people they represent — support it, likewise.
If you alive in a state where one or both of your senators oppose(southward) the bill, contacting them to testify your support for the neb reiterates where the people they’re representing stand on the Equality Act. A ringing phone is certainly harder to ignore, but you can e’er email them if you’re nervous.
Voice Support For the Equality Human action Online
The local news doesn’t cover
that’s happening in the world or even the state, which is why many people don’t know that specific bills oasis’t advanced yet. Voicing your support for the Equality Deed online and raising sensation of its electric current stagnation can assistance garner public back up and interest. In turn, that tin result what lawmakers cull to focus on, too.
Voice Support For Ending Gerrymandering
You lot may wonder what gerrymandering has to do with the Equality Act, but it impacts legislation and voting in all sorts of ways. Gerrymandering is the act of manipulating balloter district boundaries; politicians redraw their legislative district lines to gain the most voters in a given surface area. In June of 2019, the Supreme Court announced a 5–4 decision, stating that unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering wasn’t their concern as information technology presented non-justiciable questions.
Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont and Southward Dakota don’t take gerrymandering issues. In 2019, the Senate introduced the Redistricting Reform Human action, which would require a state-established contained committee that would require that any redistricting plan have back up from one fellow member of the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties.
As of nonetheless, the Redistricting Reform Deed has also not passed in the Senate. Nevertheless, advocating for the Redistricting Reform Act tin assistance end gerrymandering and, in turn, make certain voters’ voices are heard more truthfully and equitably.
Vote For Those Who Back up the Equality Act
If you lot don’t have a senator who supports the bill, notice someone who does and help support and elect them in an upcoming senatorial race. (Y’all could even run yourself!)
Even though marriage equality became the law of the country in 2015, LGBTQIA+ people are yet denied basic rights and freedoms due to discriminatory policies that target them just for being themselves. Passing the Equality Act would ensure the aforementioned basic protections at the federal level for all Americans — a much better framework than the electric current land-by-state patchwork situation today.
Call back that there are many means to get involved, no matter your by political or organizing experience.
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