Congressional Democrats, led by
Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Senator Jeff
Merkley of Oregon, on Thursday introduced a bill that seeks to ban
anti-LGBT discrimination in all areas of civil rights law.
If approved, the bill, titled the
Equality Act, would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in seven key
areas, including credit, education, employment, federal funding,
housing, jury service and public accommodations, by effectively
expanding the Civil Rights Act, originally approved in 1964.
While many states have banned
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in
employment, this patchwork of state laws leaves the majority of LGBT
Three major corporations endorsed the
proposal right out of the gate, including Apple, the Dow Chemical
Company and Levi Strauss & Co.
“[T]he time has come in this country
for full, federal equality for the LGBT community,” Levis Strauss &
Co. said in a written statement. “Ensuring fairness in our
workplace and communities is both the right thing to do and simply
“At Apple we believe in equal
treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they
look like, how they worship or who they love,” Apple said. “We
fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic
The bill, however, is not expected to
gain much traction in the Republican-led House.