WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, the lead Senate sponsor of the bipartisan Equality Act, released the following statement after the House Judiciary Committee today passed the legislation out of committee by a vote of 22-10 and sent it to the floor for a vote of the full House:
“A few years ago, Jim Obergefell was my guest for the State of the Union. He talked about the incredible, life-changing impact of hearing the marriage equality verdict that bears his name – not just because his marriage to the love of his life was finally legally recognized, but because the highest Court in the land was affirming that he belongs in the American family. Today’s vote is another historic step in that journey to equality.
“In 2019, it’s time for the Equality Act to become law, and for the bells of freedom to finally ring across America. With today’s vote, momentum is growing and this bill is on the move. I applaud Chairman Nadler, Speaker Pelosi, Representative Cicilline, and all of the equality champions in the House for championing this bill, and I look forward to seeing the Equality Act pass on the House floor soon and fighting for it in the Senate.”
The Equality Act, authored by Merkley and Rep. David Cicilline, would amend existing civil rights laws to include explicit protections against discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. This legislation would ensure that LGBTQ Americans enjoy the same protections under law that all Americans already enjoy on the basis of religion, race, gender and more.