Log Cabin Republicans Hesitant to Embrace LGBT Equality Act
Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) expressed hesitation Thursday over embracing the Equality Act, a Democrat-introduced bill that seeks to eliminate anti-LGBT discrimination and expand protection in the workplace, classroom and public spaces.
According to Salon, the bill, which was introduced in both the House and Senate Thursday, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing list of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, protected against discrimination. The Equality Act would also clarify that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used as a defense for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It would also expand the types of public accommodations covered under the Civil Rights Act to include banks, grocers, retail outlets, bars and taxi cabs.
Backers of the bill seek to succeed where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) failed after dying in the Republican-led House of Representatives after passing the Senate.
A statement released by LCR Thursday read:
"It is widely known that Log Cabin Republicans has long supported, lobbied, and advocated for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation, but we share hesitations about the Equality Act expressed by a number of organizations including LGBT advocates on the left and other civil rights groups," Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo stated. "Some of our staunchest Republican allies in Congress with unassailable records in favor of LGBT equality have indicated similar concerns with this legislation. The full text of the Equality Act was only provided to Log Cabin Republicans late last night, mere hours prior to the bill's formal introduction.
"We will review this bill with our allies in Congress and National Board of Directors prior to taking any official position. Log Cabin Republicans does not operate on the timetables of others; ultimatums are not the way to grow coalitions."
While Angelo's group expressed hesitation about embracing the Democrat-backed LGBT equality legislation, the bill was greeted with applause by major LGBT organizations.
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC):
"Being open for business means being open to everyone. When LGBT workers and entrepreneurs are protected, they are empowered to bring their whole selves to work, which increases productivity and innovation, raises performance levels, and retains top LGBT talent," says NGLCC Co-Founder and President, Justin Nelson. "This bill highlights many of the inequities that have kept tax- paying, law-abiding LGBT citizens from achieving the American Dream."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
"Congress must pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBT people and their families are just as safe at work or at school as they are in their marriages. This bill will guarantee all LGBT Americans have the clear, permanent, and explicit protections from discrimination that they deserve."
"We applaud the introduction of this essential bill. Today, it spotlights the pervasive, unjust, and unacceptable discrimination facing LGBT Americans and their families; when passed, it will be a crucial next step forward in ending that discrimination."