Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, DC announced that GOP Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) will co-sponsor the Equality Act — legislation that would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. 242 members of Congress and more than 90 corporations now back the bipartisan legislation. Taylor’s announcement is contrary to the homophobic GOP platform adopted at the 2016 GOP convention.
“The growing support for the Equality Act by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents proves that LGBTQ equality is not a partisan issue,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “All Americans should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. We are grateful for Rep. Scott Taylor’s leadership and support for this crucially important legislation that will finally ensure LGBTQ people are protected from unjust discrimination.”
“Discrimination anywhere is an injustice,” said Rep. Scott Taylor. “I’m proud to support the Equality Act and will work to ensure that all are treated the same under the law.”
The Equality Act would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for far too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. With an unacceptable patchwork of non-discrimination laws across the country, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
Rep. Taylor has been a leader in standing up for LGBTQ non-discrimination protections throughout his career. As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Taylor was one of the lead sponsors of legislation to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination under Virginia’s Fair Housing Law. Once elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the very first bill he introduced was a measure to amend the Fair Housing Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination protections. It remains to be seen whether Rep. Taylor’s support of the Equality will adversely affect his standing in the GOP House of Representatives and with the progressive and conservative constituents and he represents in Virginia’s Second District.
Republican support for the Equality Act currently includes Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Scott Taylor (R-VA). The legislation was reintroduced in Congress earlier this month with unprecedented support.
More than 90 major corporations have also joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. These leading employers know how important the need is for a federal standard that treats all employees the same no matter which state they live in. The slate of companies endorsing the Equality Act have combined operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 23 states, and collectively generate $2.6 trillion in revenue. In total, these companies employ more than 5.8 million people across the United States.
The overwhelming majority of Americans support full federal equality for LGBTQ people. Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. PRRI’s groundbreaking survey included 42,000 interviews in 50 states and found majority support for the Equality Act in all 50 states.
OutWire757 has reached out to Taylor’s office for comment and full interview.