WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Legislation seeking to update American Civil Rights laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity may be heard by House lawmakers this week.
Democrats say the Equality Act would provide stronger protections for members of the LGBTQ community. Advocates such as Sarah McBride of the Human Rights Campaign are hoping for swift action from Congress.
“In 30 states, LGBTQ people are still at risk of being fired from their job, denied housing, or refused services simply because of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” McBride said.
“Every person in every corner of this country should be treated with dignity and fairness,” she continued. “That simple but profound principle is at the heart of the Equality Act.”
The measure would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
“The willingness of survivors to speak out is what has finally forced the nation to see the LGBTQ community’s barriers to the American dream,” Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pennsylvania, said.
Scanlon, who’s the vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said she’s encouraged the House will have a hearing on the topic Tuesday.
“At long last, the Equality Act will be getting the consideration it deserves,” Scanlon added.
However, some see the bill as an overreach by the government and worry it could put women’s safety at risk.
“Biggest issues are really erasing every private space in public for women. Every bathroom, every shower, every locker room,” Marybeth Waddell of the Family Research Council said.
Waddell believes the legislation isn’t needed.
“Everyone has the equal protections of laws and everyone deserves human dignity and respect and has that 100 percent,” she said.
The bill will likely pass the House but has a more difficult road ahead in the Republican-controlled Senate.