Rep. Ted Deutch joins reintroduction of the Equality Act, prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ Americans

U.S.+Congressman+Ted+Deutch+speaks+as+Wilton+Manors+celebrates+the+life+of+Mayor+Justin+Flippen%2C+Friday%2C+March+6%2C+2020+%28Michael+Laughlin%2FSouth+Florida+Sun+Sentinel%29

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch speaks as Wilton Manors celebrates the life of Mayor Justin Flippen, Friday, March 6, 2020. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Abby Marton

On Thursday, Feb. 25, U.S. Representative Ted Deutch of Florida (D-FL 22nd District) voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Equality Act. This legislation prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity under federal civil rights law.

Despite the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision protecting LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in the workplace under federal law, the Equality Act applies not just in the workplace, but all public places.

“The Equality Act is a solid step towards acceptance, and I am very proud that Rep. Deutch has allowed my community to be a part of it,” said junior Maegan Pierre. 

In order to provide protection until the passing of the act, the Biden-Harris Administration has issued an executive order directing all federal agencies to fully adhere to the protections outlined in the Bostock decision.

While we continue to make process every day, action needs to be taken in order to protect the LGBTQ community to 

While LGBTQ rights have progressed greatly since the Equality Act was first developed in 1974, persisting injustices around the country prove that the reintroduction of this bill is an enormous and necessary step in the right direction. 

“I’m proud that the House moved so quickly to pass this landmark bill that would give LGBTQ Americans, including my constituents and the vibrant community in South Florida, equality under the law,” Deutch said in a Feb. 25 press release

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, currently “no federal law prevents a person from being fired or refused a job on the basis of sexual orientation.” 

In addition, in 27 of the 50 U.S. states, any person is able to be denied housing due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“I’ve seen instances on the news of same-sex couples being denied services such as buying wedding cakes or even adopting children, and I am extremely fearful of this discrimination reaching our community,” said junior Kylie James. 

However, this is not the first attempt to pass the Equality Act. In 2019, the act received a majority vote and party consensus, allowing it to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Upon reaching the Republican-controlled Senate led by Mitch McConnell, further actions to pass the Equality Act were halted.

The rejection of the original bill provoked a backlash from Americans and sparked debate all across the country.

“The news that the act did not go further than the Senate felt like a step backward for LGBTQ rights,” said senior Zach Beer. 

As reported by the Washington Blade, an anonymous senior administration official also indicated that former President Donald Trump would have vetoed the act.

“This bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the senior administration official said to the Washington Blade via email.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the reintroduction of the Equality Act in 2021 now receives overwhelming support from 70 percent of the American people, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and leading businesses and corporations. As a part of the plan for his first 100 days in office, Biden has vowed to make the Equality Act a top priority.