Alabama Senator Doug Jones has signed
on as a co-sponsor of the Equality Act.
First introduced in 2015, the Equality
Act seeks to 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.
According to the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, the bill has 245
“Every single American should be free
from discrimination based on who they are or whom they love, no
matter where they live,” said Jones. “I’m proud to be a
co-sponsor of the Equality Act and to continue moving conversations
forward about LGBTQ equality.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
cheered the announcement.
“With his support for this crucial
legislation, Senator Jones adds to the tremendous momentum for the
Equality Act, and brings the number of sponsors to 245 – the most
ever for any LGBTQ civil rights bill,” said Griffin. “HRC was
proud to mobilize our more than 18,000 members and supporters and the
nearly 200,000 Equality Voters across Alabama to support Doug Jones
in the U.S. Senate race last year. Today, we are even prouder to see
him using his office to push for the rights of LGBTQ people, both in
his home state and across the country. Senator Jones joins a
bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, 109 leading companies, and a
majority of fair-minded Americans who believe the time for full
federal equality is now.”
While Democrats are mostly united
behind the bill, it has the support of only one Republican, outgoing
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. President Donald
Trump has not said whether he supports the proposed legislation.
Given his support for North Carolina's House Bill 2 – which blocked
cities from enacting LGBT protections and prohibited transgender
people from using the bathroom of their choice in many buildings –
Trump's backing would seem unlikely.