Updated: Mar 29, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2021
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IYG Joins Local, State, and National Organizations to Call for Passage of the Equality Act
Lawmakers Must Make Comprehensive LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections a Priority
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) has joined more than 150 state, local, and national LGBTQ+ organizations in calling on Congress to swiftly pass the Equality Act.
“From our 34 years of working with LGBTQ+ youth in Indiana, we know discrimination is a barrier they face daily,” said Chris Paulsen, IYG CEO. “As a community, we need to lift up our youth and build a better, stronger future for our state. This law would provide better protections for the most vulnerable of our youth, and we fully support its passage.”
The Equality Act, a landmark nondiscrimination and civil rights bill, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. This bill seeks to update existing federal laws to protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Support for the bill transcends the lines of political parties, demographics, and geography, with 83 percent of Americans saying they favor LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections, including 68 percent of Republicans and a majority in every state in the country.
Discrimination of LGBTQ+ Americans is still an unfortunate commonplace reality. Opponents of LGBTQ+ equality continue to file discriminatory bills across the country in hopes of undermining the existing protections in adoption, marriage, access to basic public services, and businesses. According to a 2020 study, one in three LGBTQ+ Americans faced discrimination in the previous year, including three in five transgender Americans. The Equality Act would ensure that all LGBTQ+ Americans can live, work, and access public spaces free from discrimination, no matter what state they call home.
“One of the biggest goals of our programming at IYG is to break down the barriers that LGBTQ+ youth face on a regular basis. For too long now, our youth have had to worry about being denied housing, employment, services, and vital resources simply because of who they are,” said Director of Programs, Kimberly Acoff. “The Equality Act would effectively remove many of these barriers to afford our youth more equity in the community and allow them to live their day-to-day lives free from fear of discrimination and harassment while accessing services so many non-LGBTQ+ people take for granted.”
Although more than 330 cities in 21 states have passed nondiscrimination protections of LGBTQ+ citizens, half of the nation’s LGBTQ+ population live in the 29 states that lack comprehensive statewide laws. From our work in Indiana, we know firsthand that this patchwork of protections is unsustainable and leaves too many people vulnerable to discrimination and bigotry.
The Equality Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2019. It passed the House on May 17, 2019, with a bipartisan 236-173 vote. It was not heard in the Senate.