Today, ahead of the first-ever hearing on the Equality Act in the House Judiciary Committee, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, Vice Chair of the Committee, hosted a press conference with LGBTQ civil rights leaders to urge Congress to pass the Equality Act.
In attendance were leaders from Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Rights, UnidosUS, Freedom for All Americans, NAACP Washington Bureau, The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, Center for American Progress, Lambda Legal, National Women's Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, National LGBTQ Task Force, and advocates.
The Equality Act was reintroduced in the 116th Congress with unprecedented bipartisan support of over 280 members. This legislation would extend civil rights and non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community, who are still at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are or who they love in 30 states.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act will take place tomorrow, April 2, 2019, at 10am.
Congresswoman Scanlon's full remarks from the press conference have been made available below. A livestream from the press conference is available here.
"Thank you all for coming. I am honored and humbled to be standing here with so many advocates who have dedicated their careers and lives to equality and justice for all people.
"We are here because at long last, the Equality Act will be getting the consideration it deserves in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee, where I serve as Vice Chair, will be holding the first ever hearing on this historic legislation.
"Community members, policy experts, and advocates have spent countless hours poring over every line of this bill to ensure it accomplishes its lifesaving mission: to give legal protections from discrimination to members of the LGBTQ community.
"We wouldn't be here today without the courage of so many members of that community who have named their discrimination and demanded action. LGBTQ people experienced fear, hatred, and violence even before the Compton Cafeteria and Stonewall riots, and the willingness of survivors to speak out is what has forced the nation to see the LGBTQ communities' barriers to the American Dream.
"The cross section of participants here today underscores that the Equality Act is the consensus legislation for addressing LGBTQ discrimination; a discrimination that compounds at the intersections of identities. Racial, sex, and LGBTQ discrimination are not separate, but layer onto each other. The impact of this intersectional discrimination hits transgender women of color the hardest.
"But in addition -- this is personal. It's been personal since my baby sister came out to me almost 40 years ago. For many people across this country, that is when this fight hits home. Because it doesn't matter if you are conservative or liberal, from a big city or country born and bred, it gets personal when someone who you love says, "this is who I am," and you KNOW and value that person, and you will do whatever you can to make sure that your loved one can live life to the fullest, free from hate, free from discrimination, and free from artificial limits imposed by prejudice.
"Thank you all for being here today and for your work and courage."