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President Obama Supports the Equality Act

President Barack Obama speaks during an end-of-the year news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. At the end of his fifth year in office, Obama's job approval and personal favorability ratings have fallen to around the lowest point of his presidency. Obama will depart later for his home state of Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation trip. It's the first time in his presidency that his departure plans have not been delayed by legislative action in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Yesterday, President Obama endorsed the federal Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and expand protections for women and communities of color.

The comprehensive federal bill would expand the existing Civil Rights Act passed more than 50 years ago to include sexual orientation and gender identity as explicitly protected classes and adds prohibitions against discrimination in public accommodations and using federal funding — much-needed protections that will guarantee women and communities of color in addition to LGBT people are treated equally in a number of important areas.

“President Obama’s continued leadership on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, women, and communities of color is manifest today in his endorsement of the federal Equality Act. Even today, LGBT Americans in more than half the states can be turned away from jobs, housing and services with no clear, explicit protections under the law,” said Karin Johanson, National Political Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Women and communities of color still do not have protection against discrimination in all instances of federal funding or public accommodations. We hope that Congress will follow the President’s lead by giving the Equality Act a fair hearing and consideration in this Congress.”

Supporters agree that this is an important piece of legislation that would help ensure all Americans, including LGBTQ people and their families, are fully and clearly protected from discrimination. The announcement builds upon seven years of this administration’s support for equal rights. They have extended hospital visitation to LGBTQ families, ended discrimination among federal employees and contractors, supported marriage equality, and opposed conversion therapy.

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