Even though the Supreme Court’s ruling has brought marriage equality to all 50 states, 31 states still lack clear, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, meaning that despite the ruling, LGBTQ Americans can get legally married but still be at risk of being denied services for who they are or risk being fired simply for getting married and wearing their wedding ring to the office the next day.
Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for too many LGBTQ Americans. Nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans reported experiencing discrimination in their personal lives.
The problems come up over and over again in the 31 states that don’t have clear, fully-inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination laws. There’s the teacher who was fired after her principal found out she was planning to have a child with her partner. There’s the lesbian couple asked to leave a park while shooting maternity photos. And the transgender woman shamefully denied housing at a shelter. Despite the incredible progress on issues from marriage to military service, these stories are far too common.
The Equality Act, which was introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker, and Representatives David Cicilline and John Lewis, establishes explicit, permanent protections against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. In addition, it would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places.