U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Atlanta, seldom misses a chance to express his full-throated support of LGBT equality. So of course he stood with other elected officials on Thursday to introduce a sweeping measure to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination.
Lewis was among the primary House sponsors on hand to introduce the Equality Act during a press conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol. The measure would bar discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity by amending existing federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It's a wide-ranging measure, according to Buzzfeed:
The new bill would add sex — in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity — to the groups of protected classes in public accommodations, according to a fact sheet about the Equality Act obtained by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday. The fact sheet was circulated by senators earlier this week.
Furthermore, the bill would expand the types of public accommodation covered by the civil rights law. The existing statute applies to hotels and inns, food-service establishments, theaters, venues, and handful of other types of businesses. According to the legislative fact sheet, the Equality Act would add to that list retail stores, banks, transportation services, health care services, and a wide spectrum of entities that provide goods, services, or programs.
The Equality Act, the legislative fact sheet said, would also dictate that federal funds cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, in addition to sexual orientation and gender identity, in programs such as health care, child welfare, nutrition assistance, public education, or financial assistance for higher education.
Lewis applauded the measure.
"This legislation is what justice requires; this legislation is what justice deserves," Lewis said at the unveiling.
He also tweeted his support.
I fought too long & too hard against discrimination based on race & color, not to fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation.— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 23, 2015
Lewis, a staple at events in gay Atlanta including the Pride parade – oh that shuffle of his! – and the HRC Dinner, just can't stop being gay amazing. And Georgia Equality thanked him for it on Thursday.
"Congressman John Lewis is a personal hero of mine," Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality's executive director, said in a press release. "He has long been a champion and leader in the Civil Rights Movement and is a national symbol of non-discrimination. On behalf of LGBT Georgians, I thank him for his support of the Equality Act."