While the Supreme Court’s marriage decision in 2015 and workplace rights decision in 2020 expanded explicit protections for LGBTQ people, there is still much to be done to ensure equal treatment under the law. Federal law and the majority of states lack explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing, at school, and elsewhere, leaving many vulnerable to discrimination.
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key federal nondiscrimination laws to provide clear, explicit protections clarifying that the prohibitions against sex discrimination include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These protections would apply in the contexts of housing, public accommodations, credit, federally funded programs (including education), and federal jury service. In line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision concerning the rights of LGBTQ workers in Bostock, the Equality Act would make clear that discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in all of these settings is unlawful.
The Equality Act would also close longstanding gaps in federal law and for the first time prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in public spaces, services, and all federally funded activities, providing important new legal protections for women and LGBTQ individuals. Finally, the Act would expand the scope of what kinds of entities count as a place of public accommodation, thereby creating additional civil rights protections, including based on race and national origin.