Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) released the following statement following the passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act. This historic legislation extends full anti-discrimination protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBTQ+ Americans.
“We must ensure that all Americans, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation, are able to enjoy full civil rights as Americans,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “I voted for this bill to further the central purpose of my work here in Congress – that everyone should have equitable access to opportunity -- including in housing, education, employment, and all aspects of public life. The passage of this bill represents our continued commitment to ensuring all Americans are treated with dignity, respect and the full protections of the law.”
Despite progress made at the federal level in recent years, many forms of discrimination against LGBTQ people persist. In 27 states, a person can be denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ people can be denied access to education in 31 states, and the right to serve on a jury in 41 states.
The Equality Act addresses these problems by amending existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all aspects of American life. Specifically, the bill would ensure:
- No worker can be denied employment based on their gender identity or sexual orientation;
- All students will have equal access to education;
- Federal housing protections apply to LGBTQ+ Americans; and
- Protections against discrimination in credit, jury service, public accommodations, and federal funding apply equally to all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.