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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 12, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 50
As Senator Jeff Merkley prepares to introduce LGBTQ Equality Bill, GetEQUAL launches effort to ensure bill is truly comprehensive
Section One
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As Senator Jeff Merkley prepares to introduce LGBTQ Equality Bill, GetEQUAL launches effort to ensure bill is truly comprehensive

WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, December 10, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced at a Center for American Progress event that he intends to introduce an LGBTQ equality bill in the next Congressional session. The event comes on the heels of an effort by GetEQUAL - a national grassroots social justice organization fighting for full LGBTQ equality - to survey and then directly insert the voices of LGBTQ individuals from across the country about what they actually need in such a bill.

Rather than simply including what political insiders believe might be attainable, GetEQUAL will be working hard over the next few months to ensure that a federal LGBTQ equality bill truly serves the needs of all LGBTQ people, especially those in our community who are poor, people of color, and transgender. The first step in that process was to launch a national survey on Tuesday that aims to hear and lift up the voices of those who will be most impacted by the bill to be introduced in the next Congress.

This year marks 40 years since a full equality bill was first introduced by Bella Abzug and Ed Koch in 1974. Since then, LGBTQ Americans have struggled to survive under the cloud of employment discrimination, homelessness, religious discrimination, criminalization, and a refusal by the federal government to fully recognize our families. The introduction of an LGBTQ equality bill must address all these things and more to be effective for the vast majority of LGBTQ individuals and families.

'While we're excited that the effort to move a full LGBTQ equality bill through Congress is getting a jolt today, we're concerned that it's moving forward with zero input from the community - from those who will be most impacted by the content of the bill,' said Angela Peoples, co-director of GetEQUAL. 'Yes, we must include employment protections and federal marriage equality - but we must also include measures that will keep our community safe, provide access to inclusive health care, and ensure that our youth have a safe place to sleep after being kicked out of their homes by discriminatory parents. We will maintain public pressure on decision-makers writing this bill to ensure that it truly reflects the comprehensive solutions needed to address the multiple layers of inequality facing LGBTQ people.'

'Our full equal rights as LGBTQ individuals continue to be woefully denied. More than 40 years after Congresswoman Bella Abzug, my mother, introduced the first-ever federal equality bill that would ban discrimination against LGBT individuals, we are increasingly impatient,' said Liz Abzug, longtime activist for LGBTQ equality. 'We demand now that the U.S. Congress pass a full and equal civil rights bill that will protect LGBTQ Americans under federal anti-discrimination law. We refuse to wait another decade for LGBTQ equality to become a reality!'

GetEQUAL is a national grassroots social justice organization whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information go to www.getequal.org. You can also follow GetEQUAL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/getequal or on Twitter at @GetEQUAL.

Courtesy of GetEQUAL

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