Congressman Nadler Remarks at Town Hall in support of the Equality Act
Washington, January 28, 2022
New York City - Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler spoke at a town hall at The Center in support of the passage of the Equality Act. He joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York City LGBT Community Center, the New Pride Agenda and Freedom for All Americans. Below are the Congressman’s remarks:
"Thank you all, and first, let me begin by thanking the New York City LGBT Community Center, the New Pride Agenda, Freedom for All Americans, and Leader Schumer for inviting me to discuss one of the most significant opportunities we have had to expand civil rights in this country for decades, the Equality Act.
"As you know, the Equality Act is a straightforward bill. It says that every American, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is entitled to equal treatment in the eyes of the law. No American should ever face the threat of discrimination or bigotry.
"However, in 29 states, LGBTQ people can be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. It's no surprise then that one out of every 10 LGBT workers reports that they've been fired from a job because of their sexual orientation, and nearly two out of three have experienced discrimination in their personal lives. For decades, the LGBTQ community has been telling Members of Congress their stories of outrageous discrimination.
"I’m proud that in my time in Congress, I’ve fought for LGBTQ rights every session – from fighting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell & the Defense of Marriage Act to championing a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. With my Father Michael Judge Act, we got the first ever federal recognition of public benefits for same-sex couples in 2002. I’m also proud to have authored the Respect for Marriage Act which would have repealed DOMA, and the amicus brief on behalf of Congress in the Windsor decision.
"I could not be prouder of the gains we have made over the past thirty years. However, LGBTQ Americans cannot wait any longer for clear and comprehensive equality under the law. 2021 marked an alarming milestone: the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. This cannot continue. We must not let it continue. As we remember the trans individuals whose lives were cut short last year, we honor their legacy by continuing the fight to ensure that all people – regardless of gender and sexual orientation – are treated equally and justly in this country.
"I am grateful that thanks to your advocacy, Congressman Cicilline’s leadership, the hard work of the House Judiciary Committee, and Speaker Pelosi's steadfast support, the House was able to pass the Equality Act last year. As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, it has been my great honor to advance this bill. It is not lost on me that this is only the second time in history that Congress has considered truly comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights legislation.
"Now, with Leader Schumer at the helm in the Senate and President Biden in the White House, we have an incredible chance to finally sign the Equality Act into law and take decisive action against the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community nationwide.
"This is the time to fight for equality and our country's shared values. Let's make 2021 the year the Equality Act crosses the finish line and is signed into law by President Biden. Thank you."