The United States House of Representatives passes the Equality Act
Statement of Alderman Cavalier Johnson May 20, 2019
I congratulate our U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Equality Act last Friday, May 17. This bill protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in housing, the workplace, public accommodations, and other locales.
The Equality Act is important as it would address a remaining gap in federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Currently under federal and most states’ laws, LGBTQ people are not explicitly protected from discrimination in such public accommodations as restaurants, hotels, and other places that serve the public. Someone could be fired from a job, evicted from a home, or kicked out of a business establishment just because the employer, landlord, or business owner doesn’t approve of that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
And while the bill passed the Democratic-controlled House, this legislation faces a much stiffer chance of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate. You may recall that in Spring 2018, under legislation I sponsored, Milwaukee became the first city in Wisconsin to outlaw conversion therapy practices for anyone under 18. Since then we have seen other Wisconsin cities including Madison, Eau Claire and Cudahy follow suit. We recognize that conversion therapy can have wide-ranging harmful, lasting effects on individuals. Such therapies and other discriminatory practices have no place in any municipality in Wisconsin.
I applaud our House of Representatives for taking up the Equality Act and voting to ensure that all Americans are protected under the law, and have the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. I encourage the U.S. Senate to do the right thing and vote to extend basic civil and human rights to all Americans.
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