Merkley introduces a federal version of Oregon's Equality Act

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In 2007, as Speaker of Oregon's House, Jeff Merkley led an historic session with dozens of progressive achievements -- including the Oregon Equality Act to end discrimination against LGBT Oregonians.

Yesterday, he introduced a bill to do the same nationwide. Despite a public that thinks it's already illegal to fire someone for being gay, 28 states -- where a majority of LGBT Americans live -- still allow discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and more.

Merkley's Equality Act would -- according to Think Progress -- including the following protections:

Congressman John Lewis -- a civil rights hero of the 1960s -- was on hand for the bill announcement:

“I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again,” said Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders of the 1960s, during the announcement of the bill.1 “We’ve fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Will the bill go anywhere? Not likely, with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell running Congress. So, why does this matter? According to Slate's Mark Joseph Stern: "It suggests that as soon as Democrats regain a majority in both the House and Senate, an omnibus LGBT civil rights bill would be a top priority."

As always, elections matter.

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