WASHINGTON, DC — On the passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, in the House of Representatives today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) issued the following statement:
“This is a truly historic moment, and a reaffirmation of our founding principles of equality. I am proud to represent a state that provides legal protections for our LGBTQ family, friends and colleagues. Sadly, in 30 states, LGBTQ people are at risk of being fired, refused housing or denied services because of who they are or who they love. The Equality Act changes that, ensuring that no one can discriminate against LGBTQ Americans anywhere, period. This is another example of the progress Democrats continue to make for the American people, just as it is a representation of the American value of fairness that I have always and will always fight for. As this bill heads to the Senate, I hope my colleagues there will recognize the need to protect the rights of all Americans and join us in a strong, bipartisan vote for equality.”
Watson Coleman is the author of The Customer Non-Discrimination Act, which is included in H.R. 5 and will now head to the Senate. First introduced by Watson Coleman in 2015, the bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to shield LGBTQ people from discrimination like that experienced by the couple that sought a wedding cake in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The bill would also make updates to the public accommodations covered by the 1964 law to include retail stores, banks, legal services, healthcare providers and transportation services — ensuring that all of these public facing entities remain open to everyone.