Tim Kaine and Mark Warner introduce new LGBT nondiscrimination bill
On Thursday, Democratic Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with 38 Senators and 158 House members introduced The Equality Act, one of a number of bills aiming to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans according to a release on Warner’s site.
In Virginia, it is legal to fire, not hire, deny service or evict someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the senators.
The new bill would prohibit discrimination nationwide by adding sex, sexual orientation and gender identity to other already protected classes, such as race and religion, in existing federal civil rights laws.
The Equality Act of 2015 would outlaw discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding.
“As we work toward full equality for LGBT Americans, it’s critical that we prohibit discrimination in housing, education, and the workplace,” said Sen. Kaine, a former fair housing attorney, in the release. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this commonsense bill to extend the same legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity that already exist for race, age, religion, gender, and disability, among others.”
Three other House members from Virginia, including Richmond-area congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, are co-patrons of the bill.
“While the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and many courts have held that LGBT Americans are protected under current law, discrimination is still all too common,” said Scott in a statement on his website. “This bill makes it unmistakably clear that discriminating against LGBT Americans in hiring, promotions, termination, and harassment is illegal.”
Scott went on to clarify it would amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and “ensure that LBGT Americans do not face discrimination in an array of federal programs such as healthcare, child welfare, nutrition assistance, public education, and financial assistance for higher education”
Connecting this legislation to the recent Supreme Court case which legalized same-sex marriage nation wide, Scott called on congress to “ensure that all Americans are equally protected against discrimination under the law.”
“Congress should adopt the Equality Act to do just that,” he said.
Similar expansive bills aiming to protect LGBTQ Americans have met with similar fates of failing to get out of respective committees or chambers.
Read a brief summary of the bill here.
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