Scott Statement on House Passage of Equality Act

May 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key laws to ensure that LBGTQ Americans receive the same legal protections afforded to other Americans:

“Today is a historic day for the LGBTQ community. As Chairman, I was proud to consider this important civil rights legislation in the Education and Labor Committee. Today I am proud to stand with my House colleagues as we pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ Americans can live free from discrimination. The LGBTQ community has made many strides in the last few years, including marriage equality and the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. However, many legal hurdles still remain. Only a handful of states have explicit laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and even fewer have protections for gender identity. 

“The Equality Act closes these gaps in civil rights law and also ensures that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) cannot be used as a free pass to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The RFRA was originally enacted as a safeguard for religious freedom but has recently been used as a sword to cut down the civil rights of LGBTQ people and other individuals.

“Passage of this bill is long overdue, and I hope our Senate colleagues follow our lead and affirm that all Americans are equally protected from discrimination under the law.” 

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