Republican Bob Dold
Republican Bob Dold

The Equality Act would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination.

Republican Bob Dold of Illinois announced his support for the US Equality Act on Friday.

The Equality Act was introduced last year by Democratic lawmakers in order to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in several areas of the law. These areas include credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations. It would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Equality Act would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot defend discrimination against LGBT people.

Dold said, “Illinois has a long and proud history of fighting for equal rights, and I am proud to continue this tradition by supporting the Equality Act. Engraved on the front of the Supreme Court is the phrase, ‘Equal justice under the law,’ but as long as any Americans can be legally discriminated against, there is not equal justice in this country.”

He went on to add, “Congress must act to ensure that all Americans, including the LGBT community, are protected equally from discrimination under federal law, just as they already are in my home state of Illinois.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, has praised Dold’s decision. He said, “Bob Dold is showing tremendous leadership today by becoming the first Republican to sign on as a cosponsor of the Equality Act and we’re thrilled that he’s standing up for our fundamental values of fairness and equality.” He continued, “Far too many LGBT people—nearly two-thirds—have faced unfair and unjust discrimination in their lives, much of it in the workplace.

In co-sponsoring the Equality Act, Congressman Dold showed how important it is that LGBT people be able to have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live free from fear of discrimination.”

It was also noted that 31 states are still lacking clear, fully inclusive non-discrimination laws that cover LGBT people.

If the Equality Act were to pass, it would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protections that already exist based on race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin in the USA.