Press Release

With passage of historic Equality Act, U.S. Rep. Castor continues her career-long effort to achieve equality for LGBTQ community

f t # e
Washington, May 17, 2019 | comments
Today, in passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which ensures LGBTQ Americans are guaranteed the full protections of federal civil rights laws, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) continued her career-long effort to achieve equality for the LGBTQ community.
share: f t

Today, in passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which ensures LGBTQ Americans are guaranteed the full protections of federal civil rights laws, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) continued her career-long effort to achieve equality for the LGBTQ community.

“Fairness and equality are core American values,” said U.S. Rep. Castor, “and while the road to equal treatment under our civil rights laws has been long, progress has been steady as it ultimately ‘bends towards justice.’  In cosponsoring and voting for the Equality Act, I am renewing my commitment to achieve equality for the LGBTQ community and all my neighbors.  As I have said many times in the past, no one should be discriminated against – period – and especially based upon who they love.”

The Equality Act ensures LGBTQ Americans are guaranteed the full protections of federal civil rights laws by amending current law to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, federal jury service, public accommodations and the use of federal funds.

“Thirty states, including Florida, have not enacted broad protections for LGBTQ individuals and it is still legal to fire someone, deny them housing, refuse to serve them at a restaurant or even deny them a home loan because of who they are or who they love,” said Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders.  "The Equality Act would provide the LGBTQ community with the same protections afforded to every other American and it’s time this bill became law.  We are so proud of the leadership of longtime champions like U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor who have been unwavering in their call for the Equality Act's passage.  Now all eyes point to the U.S. Senate.  We need Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to join the bipartisan chorus calling for an end to discrimination against LGBTQ Americans."   

Despite significant legal progress – including marriage equality – LGBTQ Americans remain vulnerable to discrimination, especially in Florida where there is still no statewide law that prohibits discrimination.  Fortunately, Floridians have successfully worked with local governments to ensure LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination – including anti-discrimination ordinances and prohibitions against discrimination in Tampa and Hillsborough County.

“When I served on the Hillsborough County Commission, I stood up against the Commission when it moved to discriminate against our LGBTQ neighbors,” U.S. Rep. Castor continued.  “That was in 2005 – it’s 2019 and we are still fighting – I will never stop fighting.”

U.S. Rep. Castor has been a long-time champion of equal rights and diversity.  As a Hillsborough County Commissioner in 2005, she was the sole vote against a resolution to ban Gay Pride observations in Hillsborough County, Fla.  She continued to work for its reversal as well as during her tenure in Congress and, in 2013, the ban was finally unanimously repealed.  During her time in Congress, she joined an amicus brief to support overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which was struck down in 2013.  Before the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark case for marriage equality nationwide, she hosted a wedding for a Tampa same-sex couple in her Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C., providing a haven to establish a lifelong bond.  She cheered the U.S. Supreme Court on the steps of the court with hundreds of supporters at the historic moment the Obergefell decision was announced.  She is a member of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus.

###

f t # e