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Urge the Senate to Pass the Equality Act

Currently, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people face discrimination in a wide variety of areas. Most states do not have laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination and sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly protected classes under federal civil rights law, leaving the LGBTQ+ community vulnerable to discrimination in housing, education, credit, public accommodations, federally-funded programs, and other areas of life.

The Equality Act (H.R. 5/S.393) passed the House of Representatives in February 2021. Now, it is time for the Senate to act. Call your Senators to urge them to swiftly pass the Equality Act.

Background

The Equality Act (H.R.5/S.393) will address discrimination against LGBTQ+ people by amending existing civil rights laws to include protections based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. By building upon decades of civil rights legislation that have tangibly reduced discrimination, the Equality Act will significantly reduce the amount of discrimination LGBTQ+ people face and will provide an avenue for recourse for victims of discrimination. This bill will provide the same protections to LGBTQ+ people that are provided to other protected groups under federal law. It will also strengthen existing civil rights for women and religious minorities by expanding the definition of public accommodations and ensuring that people are protected from sex discrimination in public accommodations and federal funding. 

In June 2020, we celebrated the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA that no employer can discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While this decision is a great victory, there is more work to be done to ensure that all forms of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people are explicitly prohibited by federal law.  

Jewish Values

Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of their identity.

For More Information

For more information on this issue, visit the RAC’s LGBTQ rights issue page or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein.

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