An act to prohibit discriminatory actions against the LGBTQ+ community
DELMARVA – Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester is once again pushing to provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ community around the area says, they have come a long way in the last few years. However, with a new administration which state officials say is more progressive, the equality act has a greater chance of passing. This act simply prohibits anyone from legally discriminating against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s a huge step forward in establishing shared values of our country around LGBTQ people,” says Mark Purpura, a member on the board of Directors for ACLU, attorney, and local LGBTQ+ expert.
Local advocates and experts say, this is a great opportunity to help that community be treated fairly. “Being an ally to that community, I do recognize the benefits that it has for marginalized people especially the LGBTQ community and it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” says Richard Potter, with the Talbot NAACP, and LGBTQ+ ally.
The ACLU of Delaware says, passing the equality act would ensure protections in things like housing, employment, education and even credit. Protections many people say they were scared they would lose over the last four years. Purpura states, “There was a constant fear of what was next, what protections were going to be stripped away, waking up every day waiting for the shoe to drop.”
Local LGBTQ+ experts say, here on the eastern shore this act would further ensure that no one would legally be discriminated against. “We need to be calling our local legislators and we need to be telling them we want them to support this,” says Potter. Purpura adds, “It’s not just about LGBTQ people, it’s about filling major gaps that exist in current civil rights laws for other people as well.”
According to state officials, in 29 states, a person is at risk of being denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They say this act would make it illegal in all states to discriminate someone based on any of those factors. They also say act would also prohibit any discriminatory actions towards minority groups and women.
State officials also say the bill has been endorsed by more than 600 organizations, including civil rights, education, health care, and faith-based organizations. The equality act will be voted on next week in the house, and if passed it will head to the senate.