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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 15, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 11
Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus at highest membership ever
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus at highest membership ever

All are Democrats

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus has reached its highest membership ever - 155 lawmakers - just as Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives and reintroduced the Equality Act.

All members are Democrats. In the previous session of Congress, the group had two Republican members, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, who attempted to forge bipartisan support for LGBTQ civil rights laws. Ros-Lehtinen retired at the 2018 election, while Curbelo was defeated by his Democratic challenger.

The group will be co-chaired by all eight of the out LGBT members who now sit in the House of Representatives - Reps. David Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan, and Mark Takano.

For the first time, a majority of all House Democrats have joined the group, with 18 vice chairs and 129 general members signing on to jointly work towards LGBTQ equality.

Co-chair Sharice Davids told reporters that with more members than ever before, the caucus has 'a unique opportunity to enact real change on LGBT issues and further expand and protect the rights of the LGBT community in the US and around the world.'

Angie Craig added, '[We have] work left to do to end discrimination that still exists in housing and employment, and in particular stand with the transgender community.

'We now have the largest membership in our caucus history, and we will continue to work until every LGBTQ American has the rights and respect they deserve.'

Co-Chair Rep. Katie Hill said, 'It's not a coincidence that the 116th Congress is the youngest and most diverse in history - it's a call to action.'

'Now more than ever our communities are demanding representation to ensure their voices are heard,' she added.

'As the first openly bisexual woman elected to Congress from the state of California, I am proud to further the fight to end discrimination and uplift our community.'

David Cicilline, prime sponsor of the Equality Act, noted that 'fairness and equality are core American values. Unfortunately, as he has shown again and again, the president does not share these ideals.

'That's why it's more important than ever that members of Congress stand up for the rights of the LGBT community.

'As I prepare to re-introduce the Equality Act, I am delighted that so many of my House colleagues - the largest number on record, in fact - are committed to fighting for full LGBT equality as members of this important caucus.'

The Equality Act would add federal discrimination protections for LGBT+ people by extending existing civil rights laws to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equality Act faces a rough ride in the Senate, however, where Republicans who have held up the bill's passage for years continue to hold a majority.

It is currently legal to discriminate against LGBT+ people in 30 US states due to inadequate state-level protections, and efforts to pass US-wide LGBT+ civil rights laws have been stalled in Congress for decades.

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Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus at highest membership ever
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