Casten Statement on House Passage of Equality Act After Scathing Condemnation of GOP Rep’s Transphobic Attack Against Member of Illinois Delegation

February 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (IL-06) voted to pass the Equality Act in the 117th Congress after a scathing condemnation of a GOP colleague’s transphobic attack against Rep. Marie Newman (IL-03) and her daughter. The bill, which Rep. Casten was proud to cosponsor in 2019 and help introduce in 2021, extends protections against discrimination to members of the LGBTQ community.

“Across America, our kids are taught the Pledge of Allegiance, which ends with a promise of liberty and justice for all, but in most states, a person can be denied housing, education, or the chance to serve on a jury simply for who they are and who they love. Right now, LGBTQ Americans in half the country can get married one day and be denied service at a restaurant or be evicted from their apartment the next. The unimaginably cruel publicity stunt by a sitting member of Congress attacking Congresswoman Newman’s transgender daughter last night was a sickening reminder why the Equality Act is necessary and what we must protect all our LGBTQ loved ones against.”

Despite the success of the LGBTQ equality movement over the years, millions of LGBTQ Americans can still be discriminated against depending on the state they live in. In 27 states, a person is at risk of being 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 the right to serve on a jury in 41 states. The Equality Act remedies these disparities 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.

“I’m grateful that Congressman Casten has joined me in introducing the Equality Act and passing it in the House today,” said Congressman Cicilline, who authored the Equality Act. “No American should ever be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is critical that we get the Equality Act signed into law.”