Attorney General Josh Stein Supports Equality Act

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For immediate release: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today called on the US Senate to pass the Equality Act, a law that protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“When we don’t protect LGBTQ people, we let them down and we let everyone down,” Attorney General Josh Stein said. “In North Carolina, we know very well how damaging discrimination can be – to people’s lives, to our economy and to our reputation. We need to do more to protect LGBTQ people in healthcare, financial services, public housing, restaurants, and all the other places we live and work. I urge Congress to pass equality law to help us protect our fellow citizens of North Carolina. “

Under North Carolina law, employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Governor Roy Cooper’s 2017 non-discrimination decree prohibits discrimination in government agencies and contracts.

In a letter to Senate leaders, Attorney General Stein and 24 other attorneys general urged Senate leaders to pass the Equality Act (HR 5) and to update national civil rights laws for a long time. Without an explicit federal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ people remain vulnerable to discrimination and have no legal recourse for such experiences. The Equality Act fills these gaps by clarifying that existing protections under the Federal Civil Rights Act include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The legislation would strengthen federal legal protections for LGBTQ Americans by clarifying and modernizing federal civil rights law. It would also ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in the areas of employment, education, federally funded programs, housing, public housing, credit and jury service. In addition, the legislation expands the definition of public housing to expressly prohibit discrimination based on sex, such as denying services to people because they are pregnant or breastfeeding, or denying transgender people access to specific toilets. to the sex corresponding to their gender identity. The legislation further specifies that the United States Attorney General may intervene in federal lawsuits alleging denial of equal protection of laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Equality Act would allow state attorneys general to defend LGBTQ people in their states, including them in the list of groups protected by legislation they regularly enforce, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. and the Fair Housing Act. The Equality Act would create a national standard that would extend civil rights protections beyond the existing patchwork of state laws.

Attorney General Stein is attached to today’s letter being sent by the Attorneys General of Illinois, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico. , New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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