Only a few months in, Donald Trump’s presidency is already doing real harm to our country and our core American values.
The President recently rescinded the Obama administration’s guidelines that ensured transgender students could use facilities consistent with their gender identity.
A draft executive order that leaked to the media suggests that he also wants to let businesses deny services to LGBT Americans.
And his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has consistently ruled against transgender individuals and argued that courts should not have a role in the marriage equality debate.
It is easy, perhaps, to grow cynical. It’s easy to just cut ourselves off from the backwards ideas coming out of the White House.
But doing so would betray the ideals that have inspired and sustained the LGBT equality movement over the years.
This is no time for surrender. This is a time to fight for our equality and the shared values of our country.
And that’s why, in the coming weeks, I will reintroduce the Equality Act, legislation I first introduced two years ago with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
The Equality Act expands the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other existing laws to ensure that LGBT Americans can live their lives free from discrimination.
Specifically, it adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in the areas of employment, education, federal funding, housing, public accommodations, credit, and jury service.
Most Americans would be surprised to learn that same-sex couples can get married on a Saturday, post photos of their wedding on Facebook on Sunday, and then get fired on Monday just because of who they are.
But that’s reality.
In most states, there are no protections from discrimination for LGBT people. It’s no surprise then that one out of every 10 LGBT workers reports that they’ve been fired from a job because of their sexual orientation…or that nearly two out of three have experienced discrimination in their personal lives.
Those numbers are staggering. We have to fix this broken and unfair system. And passing the Equality Act and the comprehensive protections it offers is the only way we are going to get there.
I know that President Trump and Republicans are not going to see the light anytime soon.
And that’s exactly why we need to keep the pressure on and continue fighting to advance the goal of full equality for all LGBT Americans.
As President Obama said a few months ago, Donald Trump’s presidency is not a period. It’s just a comma. It’s a quick pause on our march towards full equality.
All of us are going to continue fighting until we get there.