Extend the Civil Rights Act to Sexual Orientation


The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.

Supporters

Those in favor argue there is a significant need for these protections on a federal level. Supporters point out that many states have passed laws granting the LGBTQ community significant protections but more needs to be done. They feel the patchwork nature of current laws across the nation leaves millions of people subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their families, and their day-to-day lives. Advocates say that most Americans support these types of protections.

Supporters of the bill say it goes a long way to end the injustices and discrimination faced by LGBTQ people, including families being denied medical care and individuals being fired simply for being transgendered, and continues the expansion of protections for marginalized communities.

Opponents

Those against argue the bill would force employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms or else lose their businesses and jobs. Opponents point out that people have a right to their religious beliefs, even if they own a business. They fear the Equality Act would increase conflicts among businesses and the community, as well as, put people out of work for their beliefs. Many fear it would also force hospitals and insurers to provide and pay for hormonal therapies against any moral or medical objections.

Opponents say it is a misguided attempt to privilege the rights of a few over the vast majority of Americans, and that the measure will likely lead to unintended consequences that hurt parents, women, people of faith, businesses and charities.

Should Congress pass the Equality Act, that would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics?

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