Los Angeles – Today, in response to the introduction of the federal Equality Act in Congress by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.) and Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Representatives David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.), Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“The introduction of federal legislation to address the longstanding discrimination suffered by members of the LGBT community is long overdue. While we have just witnessed a stunning Supreme Court victory that finally gave full standing and recognition to our relationships and families, the daily reality remains that LGBT people across the country can still be fired, evicted, expelled from school and denied service or credit because of who they are. It is our sincere hope that the Equality Act will remove the numerous barriers that still confront us in so many places across the country.
True equality, though, will only come with real social justice for all of the communities that LGBT people are already a part. We support a process that includes broad engagement of and partnership with the entire civil rights community and leadership. It is also important that any new legislation preserve strong LGBT civil rights protections already in place at the state level, and maintain and strengthen safeguards for communities and groups protected under existing federal civil rights law. In addition, the legislation must not include religious exemptions broader than those already existing in federal civil rights law.
Civil rights are not a limited resource; no one of us is equal unless all of us are equal. It is clear that many of the communities that LGBT people are part of, particularly communities of color, are far from that goal. We look forward to working with our allies and all members of the civil rights community to achieve equality for all Americans.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org