Shaheen & Hassan Join Group of Senators in Push to Bring Equality Act to a Vote

June 18, 2020

Bill would extend protections to include housing, education and public accommodations

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and a group of Senators in calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Equality Act to the Senate floor for a vote.

The Senators’ push comes after the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling to confirm that the nation’s landmark civil rights legislation preventing workplace discrimination protects LGBTQ Americans.

“Although nearly two-thirds of LGBTQIA+ Americans report experiencing discrimination, existing federal law provides insufficient recourse,[1]the Senators wrote in their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Equality Act would provide unequivocal non-discrimination protections for people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity in a number of areas, including public spaces and services, housing, education, credit, jury service, and federally funded programs, as well as explicitly codifying the Supreme Court’s holding regarding employment.[2] By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in civil rights laws, we can ensure that every person can live their life free from harassment and discrimination.”

“We have a responsibility to reaffirm the principle that harassment and discrimination are not tolerated in our country. We urge you to bring the Equality Act for a vote because all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, should enjoy the same protections under law that all Americans already enjoy on the basis of religion, race, gender, and more,” the Senators concluded.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Shaheen and Hassan are cosponsors of the Equality Act—groundbreaking, comprehensive legislation that would add explicit protections for LGBTQ Americans to the nation’s civil rights laws, ensuring that no American is evicted from their home or is denied a service based on their LGBTQ status. The bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, would clarify that just like religious, racial, or gender discrimination, anti-LGBTQ discrimination is illegal everywhere in the United States of America. That comprehensive legislation also includes Shaheen’s Jury ACCESS Act, which is bipartisan legislation that would prohibit LGBTQ discrimination in the jury selection process. Last year, Shaheen and Hassan introduced the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 with a bipartisan group of Senators. The bill would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes protected from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans. The FHA prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability but not sexual orientation or gender identity. As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen signed legislation that expanded New Hampshire’s hate crimes law to include sexual orientation.



[1] https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-equality-act

[2] https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-equality-act