Merkley Celebrates House Passage of Equality Act: “Let the Bells of Freedom Ring”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, who co-authored the Equality Act along with Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), released the following statement following the U.S. House of Representative’s bipartisan passage of the legislation. The Equality Act is landmark, comprehensive legislation that would add explicit protections for LGBTQ Americans to the nation’s civil rights laws, ensuring that no American loses a job, is evicted from home, or is denied a service based on their LGBTQ status. The bill would clarify that just like religious, racial, or gender discrimination, anti-LGBTQ discrimination is illegal everywhere in the United States of America.

“Today is a historic day in our American journey of continually striving toward a more perfect union. From Gettysburg to Seneca Falls to Selma, Stonewall and beyond, brave individuals have continually pushed to move our nation closer to its founding ideal that each of us is created equal. With today’s vote, we begin to write another chapter in that great American story—one that will finally guarantee full equality and opportunity to LGBTQ Americans across our nation.

“Today, on the 65th anniversary of a landmark moment within our nation’s journey towards equality—the Brown v. Board decision ending state-sponsored segregation—let us recommit to carrying the fight for full equality into the 21st century. It’s past time for all Americans to have full and explicit protections from being discriminated against simply because of who they are or whom they love. Now, the Senate must take up and pass this historic legislation, and let the bells of freedom ring across America.”