Senate May Expand LGBTQ Protection with Equality Act

Six years ago, in June of this year, the Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking decision to legalize same-sex marriage. This ruling was particularly resonating because it was made in the month of pride. This month, the Senate may have a chance to pass a civil rights law of similar importance. LGBTQ AmericansIf it wasn’t hampered by Republican opposition.

Senate leader Chuck Schumer said last month Equality before the law, Enshrines legal protection for LGBTQ Americans in June. Still, it is not yet clear whether the Senate will actually consider this issue. Outpatient bill Pride month.

Twenty-nine states do not have legislation that explicitly protects LGBTQ Americans from discrimination, and different states have different protection patchwork. The Equality Act extends protection to federally funded programs, employment, mortgages, loan applications, education and public facilities.

“For the first time, this will provide the highly needed national protection,” said GLAAD consultant Sieg Stokes, to support the passage of the bill. Leading the organization’s summer equality work.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that sex-based protection guaranteed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to LGBTQ discrimination against Americans. The Equality Act does not include these protections under the comprehensive term “gender”, but explicitly sets them on people based on their orientation and gender identity.

The Equality Act passed the House of Representatives for the first time in 2019, but was not considered by the Republican-controlled Senate at the time and faced opposition from the Trump administration. It’s not yet clear if the bill can be passed with the support of a sufficient number of Republicans.

Most laws require 60 votes in the Senate, and the Democratic Party has a close majority in the 50-50 Senate. It requires the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass most of the priorities, including equality law.

Many Republicans have expressed concern that equality law may violate religious freedom. Republican Senator Susan Collins was the only Republican supporter of the bill in the last parliament. However, he does not support the Republican Party’s equality law, which was reintroduced this year. Partly due to language concerns In a bill concerning religious groups.

The Equality Law amends the wording of the Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation under a federal-funded program. However, this will affect certain belief-based organizations that receive federal funding, such as Catholic charities who have previously refused adoption services for homosexual couples. If changed, there is a risk that the exemption created to address it will be legalized.

Also, Senator Joe Manchin is the only Democrat who is not a co-sponsor of the bill, so the bill may not gain universal support from the Democratic Party.Manchin Said in 2019 He said he would not support the bill without change, explaining that at the time, “I was not confident that the written equality law would provide sufficient guidance to the local civil servants responsible for implementing it.” school. “

However, the protection provided by equality law is widely popular among most Americans.Recent poll According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 76% of Americans support the protection of LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in work, housing and public facilities. Opinion polls show that the majority of Republicans (62%) also support anti-discrimination legislation, although approval ratings are strong between Democrats and independents.

Proponents argue that senators from Republican-dominated states should vote with voters on this issue, given the popularity of anti-discrimination measures even among Republicans. GLAAD Summer Equality The campaign includes coordinating direct calls to the offices of key senators and targeting them with digital advertising.

The bill is also endorsed by celebrities in American pop culture, such as Taylor Swift, a strong advocate of equality law. Statement posted on Twitter Earlier this month, Swift announced its support for the summer equality campaign and equality law.

GLAAD will also send a message to senators who support equality law on behalf of voters signing the letter. Through the organization’s website..

“Fair Republican senators like Susan Collins, Lisa Markovsky, Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, and a few others hear the message from state voters loudly and clearly and lead in the caucuses. I’m hoping to be, “said Stokes, referring to a more modest Republican senator. “In our view, equality should not be a partisan political issue.”

Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who first introduced the equality law in 2015, said the bill went even further in the Senate.

“Already this year, the bill passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote, gaining more Senate co-sponsors than ever, and with the support of more than 400 major companies seeking it, the first Senate hearing in history. It was held, in front of the Judiciary Committee, “Markley said in a statement to CBS News.

“We continue to have productive conversations with colleagues on the other side of the aisle about this groundbreaking law,” added Markley, adding that the Senate passed the bill and “put it on President Biden’s desk. He said he wanted the law to be signed. “

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ American advocacy group, The campaign has started It also includes encouraging supporters to call and email Senators to facilitate the passage of the bill in the Senate. Alfonso David, head of the Human Rights Campaign, told CBS News that the “multi-layered national campaign” also includes paid and paid media, polls, and direct lobbying. ..

“I understand that getting the support of 10 Republicans isn’t easy, but I also understand that promoting civil rights has never been so easy,” said David. ..

Some progressives have argued to eliminate filibuster in order to pass Democratic priorities with little or no Republican support in the Senate, Stokes said. He said he personally supports ending filibuster if the buster is an obstacle to passing the equality law.

“It’s really a shame to take part in the 2022 elections two years later and show nothing because of the mysterious process in the US Senate,” Stokes said. However, he faced a difficult map in the 2022 midterm elections and is likely to lose a majority in Congress.

However, Manchin, like Democratic Senator Kyrsten Cinema, has repeatedly expressed opposition to the abolition of filibuster. Other Democratic Senators are personally concerned about ending the practice. He has stated. Without the support of all 50 Senate Democrats, Filibuster would stay there.

Filibuster seems to be here, so it’s about returning activists to their first and only option: to somehow convince enough Republicans to support the bill. Stokes He said he has the belief that “the president seeking equality will pass and sign” even if the bill does not pass this month or this year. “

David urged two-thirds of Americans who support the bill to contact the senator.

“I’m confident that the overwhelming majority of voters will eventually reach the point where they can convince Republican Senators to support the bill,” said David.

Senate May Expand LGBTQ Protection with Equality Act

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