WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, the lead author of the Equality Act, released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding the rights of LGBTQ Americans to be free from discrimination in the workplace. In 2013, Senator Merkley led the Senate in passing bipartisan legislation to ban employment discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, but unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to take up that legislation.
“Today’s ruling is an important victory for LGBTQ rights. The law of the land is now clear that discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in employment is illegal. The Supreme Court made the right decision today.
“While today’s ruling finally provides clear protection in the workplace, there are still enormous gaps in the law that must be fixed immediately. More than half of all states still do not provide explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in housing, public accommodations, education, and more. The Equality Act—which would provide explicit federal protections in all of these areas—passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 17, 2019. It has been waiting on Mitch McConnell’s desk for over a year without receiving a single vote in the Senate. It is time for the senate majority to end this shameful period of inaction and bring the Equality Act up for a vote and passage.
“The majority of Americans believe that federal law already explicitly protects against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. I hope that today’s ruling will provide a critical reminder that in 2020, these rights are still being fought for. Let’s finish the job and pass the Equality Act immediately.”