On Tuesday, President Biden signed “A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, And Intersex Pride Month, 2022.” He pointed out that “LGBTQI+ Americans are under relentless attack” while assuring that “they are loved and cherished” and “deserving of dignity, respect, and support.” To this end, Biden used the opportunity to once again call on Congress to pass the Equality Act, a law that is long overdue.
In February 2021, the House passed the Equality Act by a healthy margin (224-206). However, despite this historic legislative victory, this law has been stalled in the Senate thanks to the obstructionism and aversion to progress that has become a disturbing hallmark of the Republican Party.
If the Equality Act were to reach Biden’s desk, the addition of his signature would mean that sexual orientation and gender identity would be codified as their own protected classes, covering housing, public accommodations, public education, and more. Currently, plaintiffs must convince judges that alleged discriminatory conduct fits into the broader protected class of “sex” and rely on recent case law, which can be an uphill battle.
Making matters worse is that freedoms and protections are lacking in 29 states for LGBTQI+ Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Check out this HRC interactive map feature, which exposes how passage of the Equality Act, a sweeping federal law, would have a profound effect on eradicating discrimination in employment, housing, and education while sending a clear message of who we are as a nation.
While our side wants dignity for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, the Republican positions appears to run the gamut from pathetically silent to repulsively deranged. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene this week provided a clear example of this latter type. In a video, Greene expressed her fear that “probably in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore.” Feeling threatened, Greene flippantly lamented that “everyone will be either gay or trans or non-conforming, or whatever the list of 50 or 60 different options there are.”
This hateful nonsense follows an earlier statement by Greene complaining about Pride Month while falsely insisting that the Uvalde shooter was transgender. If the current Senate won’t finally seal the deal on the Equality Act, then we must do whatever we can to ensure that more enlightened senators are seated who are committed to advancing a progressive and just agenda. The Equality Act is one of several urgent reasons why getting out the vote this November is critical.