Protection against discrimination for all LGBTQ+ Americans became inevitable when Democrats took control of both the White House and both houses of Congress.
President Biden’s administration has made this a priority for his first 100 days per White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (Washington Blade, Feb. 5).
Democrats last controlled the White House and both legislative houses in the 111th Congress (2009–2011). LGBTQ rights then took three leaps forward. Congress repealed statutory support for the military’s anti-gay discrimination (2010) and passed an inclusive federal hate crime law (2009). The Senate confirmed appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor (2009) and Elena Kagan (2010), who joined three other justices to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional (2013 and 2015).
In 2019 every Democrat — but only eight Republicans — in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Equality Act.
Today, Democrats control both houses in 18 states’ legislatures, and all 18 have pertinent non-discrimination laws. Minnesota (1993) and Iowa (2007) enacted such laws when Democrats controlled their legislatures.
Virginia Democrats took control of Old Dominion’s legislature in 2020 and, less than six months later, made their state the first in the South to enact a pro-LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination law.
This will nicely supplement the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The Equality Act will cover not just employment but housing, education, finance and public accommodations (e.g. bakery).
With Democrats in control, our day in the sun as LGBTQ+ Americans is inevitable.
J. Eric Peters
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