Today, the US House of representatives voted in support of the Equality Act! It is now up to the Senate to move the legislation forward, as President Biden has already declared that passing the historic piece of LGBTQ protection is a priority for his first 100 days in office. When we won marriage equality in the consolidated Supreme Court victories of 2013 and 2015 respectively, far too many outside our community thought our work was done. We know, however, the work wasn’t done then, and it won’t be done even with the passage of the Equality Act.
The Equality Act is a vital piece of legislation that will create expressed protections for the LGBTQ community under federal law as well as enhance existing legal protections for people of color, people of faith, immigrants, and women. LGBTQ people will finally have protections from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodation. I’m confident that despite the obstacles that lie ahead of us, this historic legislation will pass. When it does, we must remember that our work is not done.
For years, a strategy by anti-LGBTQ extremists has been to place hundreds of seemingly innocuous bills and blatantly oppressive pieces of legislation in cities, counties, and states all across the country in an attempt to establish “religious exemptions” to equal protection laws. These bills, coupled with the stacking of anti-LGBTQ judicial appointments across the country, including the Supreme Court, is part of an overarching strategy to ensure that women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and communities of color are left vulnerable to discrimination.
As our community works towards the passage of the Equality Act, we are also awaiting a Supreme Court decision on the Fulton v Philadelphia case. Before the court is the question of whether or not an organization can be both funded by our government and actively discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The results of this case have the potential to chip away at marriage equality rights, the Equality Act, as well as legal protections for women, communities of color, people of all religions, and more.
Our LGBTQ movement has made impressive gains within our City, County, and State. With this new administration, we are poised to make significant gains federally and internationally. It’s not just about changing the law, it’s about changing the lived experience of our community for the better. From these victories cannot come complacency. We must instead use each success as an opportunity to lift each other up and weave our intersectional social justice movements more tightly together. This is how, through the continuum of our intergenerational movement towards liberation, we remain Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride