As a follow-up to the Supreme Court’s decision of Obergefell v. Hodges
legalizing same-sex marriage, lawmakers have introduced a bill to expand discrimination protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals. (SupremeCourt.gov
). Currently, less than half of the states in the US have laws that protect LGBT individuals from employment discrimination, but offer no other discrimination protection to that group.
Federal laws protect most citizens of the United States from discrimination but do not include the language specifically extending those protections to anyone being discriminated against based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed Full Equality Act of 2015 would include members of the LGBT community in the protections against discrimination in the areas of employment, jury selection, public education, student loans, healthcare and housing. Provisions in the act include changes in the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would forbid most businesses from discriminating against LGBT individuals in their hiring, firing and promotion practices and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would keep business owners from being able to refuse service to LGBT customers. Religious institutions would not be required to change their hiring practices, however, and would still be able to consider religious beliefs if the employee may be doing any work involving the practice of the institution’s faith.
The Full Equality Act of 2015 is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Rhode Island’s Rep. David Cicilline and in the Senate by Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, Wisconsin’s Sen. Tammy Baldwin and New Jersey’s Sen. Cory Booker. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York voiced his support on Twitter for the act by saying “We must shine a light on injustice. #LGBT discrimination has no place in our housing, employment, and education laws” (twitter.com
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