Underwood Fights to End Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ Americans, Supports the Bipartisan Passage of the Equality Act

February 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) supported the bipartisan passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) in the House of Representatives. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans in every single state support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people, millions of LGBTQ+ Americans still lack basic civil rights. In 27 states, Americans can legally be denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ+ people are also at risk of being denied access to education in 31 states, and they lack the right to serve on a jury in 41 states. The Equality Act remedies these injustices by amending existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations, and federal funding. Illinois, a leader in advancing LGBTQ+ equality, already provides comprehensive legal protections comparable to those in the Equality Act

“Every American deserves to live free from the fear of discrimination, without exception. We will not have full equality in this country until every LGBTQ+ person has that freedom. That’s why it’s long past time for the Equality Act to become law,” said Rep. Underwood. “I’m thankful for Americans in Illinois and across the country who have worked to advance this historic legislation. I urge the Senate to take immediate action on this bill to fulfill our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all.” 

The passage of the Equality Act is a priority for the people of Illinois’ 14th District and the legislation has gained endorsements from Equality Illinois and the Illinois Accountability Initiative. 

“Being the first openly LGBTQ+ woman and person to be elected to public office in McHenry County, I am extremely thrilled that this has passed. It has been long overdue, and a much needed step in the continued fight for equality. It’s great to see that this Administration is putting forth the legislation to right so many wrongs of the previous Administration. This is a phenomenal victory for equality, and this should be a day celebrated by all,” Jessica Phillips, McHenry County Board District 2. 

The legislation is endorsed by leading advocacy organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National LGBTQ Task Force, Lambda Legal, the Family Equality Council, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Transgender Law Center, Freedom for all Americans, SAGE, PFLAG, the Center for American Progress, and the National Association of Realtors. 

A full list of endorsing organizations can be found here.