U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, said Thursday that she had co-authored a bill intended to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in publicly funded or managed venues.
The so-called “Equality Act” would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making it illegal to discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity when it comes to public accommodations, federal funding, education, employment, housing, credit, and jury service.
“I remain committed to stand with those who face bigotry, discrimination, and violence because of who they are or who they love,” Esty said in a release Thursday. “The Equality Act will ensure that LGBT Americans are afforded the same basic protections under the law as everyone else.”
It is not clear how well the bill will fare in a Republican-controlled Congress.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June in favor of marriage equality, there was a stark contrast in the responses from either side of the aisle.
“Today’s decision will take its place in the pantheon of historic cases honoring our nation’s enduring promise that every person is deserving of dignity, respect, and equality under the law,” Esty said then.
While Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that “All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect,” he made his opposition to the ruling quite clear.
“My views are based on my upbringing and my faith,” he said in a statement. “I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs.”
According to Esty’s office, a study conducted earlier this year by the non-partisan Human Rights Campaign found that 63 percent of LGBT Americans have experienced discrimination.
Though Esty co-authored the Equality Act, it is being sponsored in the Senate by a pair of Democrats known for their staunch advocacy for LGBT rights.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, who is introducing the House’s version of the “Equality Act,” is one of six openly gay members of U.S. House.
When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in June, Cicilline said “we know that there is still more work to be done.”
“Most Americans would be surprised to hear that a gay couple could be married on Saturday, post photos of their wedding on Sunday, and then be fired on Monday for no reason other than the fact that they’re gay,” he said. “But this is the reality in a majority of states today.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, is introducing the Senate version of the bill and previously sponsored legislation to repeal both Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, railed against the Supreme Court’s decision during a hearing Wednesday, calling for judicial term limits and an end to what he termed “judicial tyranny,” as the Houston Chronicle reported.
“We should be horrified at the notion that five unelected judges can seize for themselves the policy-making authority and take it from the American people,” Cruz said, as was reported in the Chronicle. “We did not establish philosopher-kings in the country. We did not establish rule by an unelected elite . . . Indeed, that is the very definition of tyranny.”