WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act, to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are granted the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights law. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections not just in the workplace, but in every place – in employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accommodations.
“For decades, tireless leaders, activists and committed citizens have marched and mobilized to advance progress and secure the promise of equality and justice for the LGBTQ community in New Jersey and across the country” said Congressman Norcross. “To build on the progress we have made, I’m honored to join my colleagues to pass the Equality Act to finally, fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans once and for all. This landmark legislation reaffirms that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental civil right that belongs to every American and that no New Jerseyan or any American should ever lose their job, their home or be denied access to essential services simply because of who they are or whom they love.”
Countless members of the national LGBTQ community still live in states where, though they have the right to marry, they have no explicit, state-level non-discrimination protections in other areas of daily life. In 27 states, LGBTQ Americans do not have state protections against being denied housing because of their sexual orientation; 31 states lack protections regarding access to education; and 38 states lack protections regarding jury service. In at least half of the states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant or be evicted from their apartment the next. The Equality Act amends existing federal civil rights laws to create a nationwide standard that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity everywhere.
Despite the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision affirming that LGBTQ Americans are protected from discrimination in the workplace under federal law, the Trump Administration advanced an anti-LGBTQ agenda that undermined the rights of LGBTQ Americans. In one of its first actions, the Biden-Harris Administration issued an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to fully comply with the Bostock decision, but the Equality Act remains necessary to codify civil rights protections in every arena of life in America and ensure that future administrations cannot reinterpret the Supreme Court ruling or deny LGBTQ individuals their full rights and protections.
The Equality Act enjoys the overwhelming support of the American people – 70 percent of whom favor the legislation’s vital protections – as well as robust support from the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of leading businesses and corporations that recognize that the strength of our economy and our society requires equal protection under the law.
Norcross added: “In New Jersey, our communities are blessed and strengthened by the beauty and diversity of our LGBTQ family, friends and neighbors. As we take this momentous step forward, we must reaffirm the fundamental truth: that all are created equal and are deserving of dignity, respect and civil rights in America. As this vital legislation heads to the Democratic Senate, I am committed to keep fighting until the Equality Act is finally signed into law.”