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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 21, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 34
HRC hosts Nancy Pelosi and Suzan DelBene at Amazon HQ
Section One
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HRC hosts Nancy Pelosi and Suzan DelBene at Amazon HQ

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

House Democratic leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene to tout the Equality Act at Seattle's Amazon headquarters.

The Equality Act, which was introduced this month, is a comprehensive federal civil rights bill protecting LGBT Americans. Pelosi and DelBene are both co-sponsors.

The Amazon gathering, billed as 'Beyond Marriage: The LGBT Equality Fight Continues,' was organized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The Equality Act, which HRC helped draft, would provide explicit civil rights protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in July that LGBT people are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that law only applies to employment.

'No one should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love,' Pelosi said at the event. 'With the joy of marriage equality at our backs, we must now pass the Equality Act to ensure that every LGBT American everywhere can live, love and work free from discrimination. Congresswoman DelBene has been a tenacious champion for LGBT rights, and she is working tirelessly to continue to advance LGBT equality.'

'Our country had a historic Pride Month, with the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on marriage equality,' DelBene said.

'But even as same-sex couples enjoy the right to marry in all 50 states, there is much more work to do to end discrimination and ensure LGBT Americans have full equality under the law. In many states, people who are LGBT can still be fired, denied credit and evicted from their home simply based on who they are and who they love. This is wrong, and I will continue to fight until all Americans have equal rights and protections.'

'The time has come for full federal equality - nothing more, nothing less,' said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs for HRC. 'Everyone should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families and live their lives without fear of discrimination.'

The measure is meant to replace the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as the signature LGBT rights legislation in Congress, but it is not expected to advance in the Republican-controlled House.

DelBene represents Washington's 1st Congressional District, which includes the northern third of King County plus most of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. Pelosi is from San Francisco.

All parties discreetly avoided mentioning the recent blockbuster New York Times article blasting Amazon as a toxic workplace. Amazon has nondiscrimination policies in place protecting LGBT employees.

'Amazon has a long history of supporting equality, and we welcome the efforts of the many bipartisan sponsors and cosponsors of the Equality Act, including Leader Pelosi and Rep. DelBene, to provide full equality for LGBT individuals,' Amazon Public Policy Director Brian Huseman said.

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