Lawmakers announce equal rights amendment, protecting LGBTQ+ community/residents with disabilities


DOVER, DE.-  Applause was the sound that could be heard outside of legislative hall, as lawmakers and advocates held a rally Thursday introducing legislation that would broaden the equal rights clause in the states constitution. “The equal protection of the laws is the foundation of democracy, the guarantee that everyone matters, and that no one will be left behind is at the heart of our constitutional form of government,” said Senator Sarah McBride.

House Bill 199 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to Delaware’s equality rights clause.

Lawmakers say there was no better time than now to introduce this legislation. “This Legislation sends a strong message to LGBTQ plus youth and community members of any age that have not come out that you are okay just as you are and that you are not alone,” said Representative Eric Morrison.

In recent years, Delaware has enacted laws providing protections for LGBTQ+ residents, including discrimination laws for sexual orientation in 2009 and marriage equality back in 2013.

Yet, the fight continues as lawmakers say they’re still pushing to get June recognized as pride month.  “We’re here for the people who’s rights get trampled on, who’s rights get forgotten, and who’s right get violated on an everyday basis,” said Senator Marie Pinkney.

LGBTQ youth also spoke at the rally and say steps like this keep them hopeful. “This legislation insures that I have a future to begin with,” said Edward Alban (Pronouns He/Him)

“Laws like these, I feel will help me be more comfortable living as myself,” said JaLynn Hope (Pronouns They/Them)

Lawmakers also say the work they’ve started today, doesn’t end right here. As they have a long way to go in the fight for equality.

If passed, Delaware would be the first state in the nation to add such protections for LGBTQ+ residents in the states constitution.

House Bill 199 has been assigned to the House Administration committee.

Categories: Delaware, Local News