Antoine Does Not Want a Tutor for the Act.
In 2022, many LGBTQIA+ Americans
don’t have basic legal protections. Just 22 states (and Washington, D.C.) have explicit not-bigotry laws and policies on the books, which ways roughly half of the queer and trans population lives in states that don’t protect their rights, jobs or admission to housing, credit and education. The result? A patchwork of laws that varies from state to state.
Without a comprehensive — or permanent — federal police in identify that protects queer and trans people from discrimination, members of the LGBTQIA+ community will keep to confront obstacles that threaten and disrupt their lives. For a long time, queer and trans people, and their allies, have pushed to make the Equality Act the law of the state.
While the legislation gained some momentum in Congress over the last few years, information technology has stalled, leaving LGBTQIA+ rights hanging in the balance. And so, what’southward going on with the Equality Human activity, and what can you do about information technology?
What Is the Equality Act?
As you may know, the Civil Rights Deed of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation that was set in place to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex activity, color, race, and national origin. These protections extended to education, employment, public accommodations, federally funded programs and, eventually, housing. Put simply, the Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Human action of 1964 in social club to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation as well.
Although it’south in the news today, the origins of the Equality Human action stretch back to 1974 when activist and U.South. Representative Bella Abzug and erstwhile New York Metropolis mayor Ed Koch brought an anti-discrimination beak to the Firm of Representatives. But the effort to bring awareness to LGBTQIA+ rights and protections didn’t make the news. In fact, “its introduction did not even merit mention in any media other than in the Congressional Record,” WBUR reports.
Since so, federal LGBTQIA+ anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced in all but ane Congressional session. In 1996, information technology seemed like federal protections for queer and trans Americans might just get the law of the land, but the Senate failed to pass the proposed bill by a single vote. And that brings us to today.
“On his first 24-hour interval in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect LGBTQIA+ Americans from discrimination,” writes Kate Bove in our previous coverage of the Equality Act. “Although the gild marked a milestone in ceremonious rights protections, advocates of the Equality Act desire to codify these protections, and those affirmed in the
Bostock five. Clayton Canton
ruling, into police force; subsequently all, an executive lodge can be undone with the stroke of a pen.”
This demand for federal protections couldn’t be greater than it is today. From Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation to the many, many country laws targeting queer and trans youth and their families, 2022 has seen a record number of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, all of which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) keeps track of on their site. NPR reports that “[As of April 2022,] in that location accept been more than than 200 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills introduced in nearly 40 states” — a truly jaw-dropping amount.
Non only are trans students — and trans people at large — being systematically barred from using the restrooms that marshal with their gender, merely 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 state policies, extending protections to all queer and trans Americans. This would hateful protection from discrimination, harrassment and exclusion at piece of work and school, when applying for housing, and while in public spaces, amidst other things.
And then, What’s the Next Step?
On February 25, 2021, the House passed the Equality, which means, as of May 2022, the side by side step involves introducing the bill to the Senate then that it tin be voted on and, hopefully, passed by those lawmakers, too. That’s going to be difficult, though; currently, we have a tied senate and many Republicans who oppose the beak. A chunk of those opponents believe the Equality Act would infringe upon religious freedom and override the Religious Liberty Restoration Act.
What many of those who oppose the bill don’t realize is that religious freedom is about allowing people to practice their organized religion (or lack thereof) free from discrimination. It does not allow Person A to dictate what other people can do — or what freedoms they’re allowed.
For case, if Person A is function of a religious denomination that forbids alcohol, they can’t forbid others from drinking just because they can’t do then. In this case, if their denomination or church discriminates against LGBTQIA+ people, their religious liberty notwithstanding doesn’t mean they can evict, fire, not hire, or otherwise discriminate against those outside their organized 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 every bit a reason for discriminating against others.
What Can You Exercise to Help Garner Support for the Equality Human action?
Sure, yous’re not the one who turns bills into laws, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. There are plenty of actions you can take both online and off to assist push the Equality Act closer to becoming the law of the land.
Contact Your Senators
Each state has two senators. If you alive in a state where both of your senators support the bill and stated they volition sign it, that’s dandy! However, you even so need to contact them to show that you — 1 of the people they represent — support it, too.
If you alive in a state where one or both of your senators oppose(s) the beak, contacting them to show your support for the bill reiterates where the people they’re representing stand up on the Equality Act. A ringing phone is certainly harder to ignore, but y’all tin e’er e-mail them if you’re nervous.
Voice Support For the Equality Act 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 haven’t advanced nevertheless. Voicing your support for the Equality Act online and raising awareness of its current stagnation can help garner public support and interest. In plow, that tin can event what lawmakers choose to focus on, too.
Vox Support For Ending Gerrymandering
You may wonder what gerrymandering has to do with the Equality Act, just information technology impacts legislation and voting in all sorts of ways. Gerrymandering is the human activity of manipulating electoral district boundaries; politicians redraw their legislative commune lines to gain the near voters in a given area. In June of 2019, the Supreme Courtroom appear a 5–iv decision, stating that unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering wasn’t their concern equally it presented non-justiciable questions.
Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont and Due south Dakota don’t accept gerrymandering issues. In 2019, the Senate introduced the Redistricting Reform Act, which would require a state-established independent commission that would require that any redistricting plan have support from i member of the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties.
As of all the same, the Redistricting Reform Act has likewise not passed in the Senate. However, advocating for the Redistricting Reform Human action can assistance end gerrymandering and, in plow, make sure voters’ voices are heard more truthfully and equitably.
Vote For Those Who Support the Equality Deed
If yous don’t have a senator who supports the bill, find someone who does and help support and elect them in an upcoming senatorial race. (You could even run yourself!)
Even though union equality became the law of the state in 2015, LGBTQIA+ people are still denied bones rights and freedoms due to discriminatory policies that target them simply for being themselves. Passing the Equality Human action would ensure the same basic protections at the federal level for all Americans — a much better framework than the current state-by-state patchwork situation today.
Recall that at that place are many ways to get involved, no matter your past political or organizing experience.
Antoine Does Not Want a Tutor for the Act