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Shaheen, Hassan Join Colleagues to Reintroduce Historic, Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Legislation

(Washington DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 44 Senators to re-introduce historic, comprehensive federal legislation to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Equality Act of 2017 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws. The bill would explicitly ban discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding. The bill would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, including in public accommodations and federal funding.

“For far too long our country has allowed discrimination against LGBT individuals simply because of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Senator Shaheen. “Now more than ever we must stand with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community against discrimination, build on the successes and struggles of the movement, and pass the Equality Act so that LGBT Americans have the same basic civil rights protections as their neighbors.”

“We have come a long way in the fight for full equality for LGBTQ individuals but we still have more work to do,” said Senator Hassan. “Passing the Equality Act will provide critical anti-discrimination protections to ensure that every American and Granite Stater can fully participate in the civic and economic life of our communities, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBT non-discrimination protection laws.

The Equality Act includes Sen. Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation, the Jury ACCESS (Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection) Act, which would prohibit the practice of striking jurors in federal courts on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The full text of the Equality Act of 2017 is available here. The legislation was filed simultaneously in the U.S. House of Representatives by 194 Representatives, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).