Pelosi Remarks at Introduction of the Equality Act of 2017

May 2, 2017
Washington, D.C.  – Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Co-Chair David N. Cicilline (D-RI), U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and House and Senate Democrats to introduce the Equality Act of 2017.  Below is a transcript of the Leader’s remarks:

Opening Remarks

Leader Pelosi. “Thank you very much Congressman [David] Cicilline and Senator [Jeff] Merkley for your leadership on this very important issue.  I’m very honored to join them.

“As the Senator said, we’ve all been heartened by the 7th Circuit Court ruling that the Civil Rights Act protects Americans from workplace discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

“Now we must pass the Equality Act to remove all doubt that sexual orientation and gender identity warrant civil rights protections, not just in the workplace but every place.  We must end anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, education, housing, credit, jury service and public accommodations.

“The Civil Rights Act is a sacred pillar of our freedom in our country.  It is not amended lightly.

“It is for this reason that I cherish the words of the late civil rights champion and NAACP Leader Julian Bond who said, ‘It’s time to take action to end this discrimination.  It’s time to add concrete protections for LGBT people to existing civil rights law, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity enjoy similar treatment as religion, national origin, and race.’

“The Trump Administration has quickly proved it will not defend or respect the rights of LGBT Americans.  Whether abandoning transgender students or keeping LGBT data from the census, or advancing an anti-LGBT Secretary of the Navy, it is clear that this White House will be obstacle not an advocate in the fight for full LGBT equality and trans equality now.

“Today, reintroducing the Equality Act, we warn the White House, and every Republican statehouse – this is very important across the country, the statehouses are emboldened to attack the rights of LGBT Americans under this Administration.  We warn them that the tide of history is to expand freedom and to end discrimination. Democrats will fight with our full strength to secure full equality for LGBT families.

And with that, I’m very pleased to welcome back to the House side, a person who served here for 18 years, now the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.”