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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 17, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 20
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1st Congressional District) speaks out to endorse the Equality Act
Section One
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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1st Congressional District) speaks out to endorse the Equality Act

On Wednesday, May 8 the New Democrat Coalition in the U.S. House of Congress formally endorsed the Equality Act at a live press conference, and Congresswomen Suzan. DelBene spoke about the importance of passing this legislation. She represents Washington's first congressional district, which covers parts of King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

The full press conference appears on the New Democrat Coalition Facebook page. A transcript of Rep. DelBene's prepared remarks follows this introduction.

Rep. DelBene is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act and has been a passionate supporter of the LGBTQ community since coming to Congress. She introduced a resolution in the 114th and 115th Congress that would make June 26th 'LGBT Equality Day.'

She also introduced the Voices for Veterans Act, to add LGBT veterans to the membership and scope of the VA's Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, which advises the VA Secretary on the needs of minority veterans with respect to compensation, health care, rehabilitation, outreach and other VA benefits and services.



Other efforts DelBene has joined to advance LGBTQ equality include:
o The Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act, which extends the full range of VA benefits to married same-sex couples residing in states that do not recognize marriage equality;

o The Equality for All Resolution, which states discrimination faced by the LGBT community is unacceptable and reaffirms Congress's commitment to ensuring true equality for all Americans; and

o The Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution, which encourages states to protect minors from efforts that promise to change sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, also known as conversion therapy.



Following are Congresswoman Suzan DelBene's remarks in support of the Equality Act:

Thank you. I'm Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, vice chair of policy.

The Equality Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress can pass.

In more than half of the United States, LGBTQ Americans can still be fired, denied credit and evicted from their home simply based on who they are and who they love.

What's worse, our nation is seeing a proliferation of state laws stripping protections from transgender Americans and legalizing discrimination under the guise of 'religious freedom.'

Right now, only 21 states have protections against housing and employment discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity, and only 15 states have protections against education discrimination. We can do better.

Imagine what it must feel like to know that your entire life can be upended simply because of who you love - that you could lose your job for no good reason.

Well, it happened to someone who now lives in my state.

It started when he was a volleyball coach at a college in Virginia. They had just finished their most successful season ever - and he was fired without explanation.

And in Virginia, there is no legal recourse for fired LGBTQ employees.

So he, his husband and their sons moved to Washington state where there are protections for LGBTQ employees - and Washington state welcomes you and your family with open arms!

But not everyone has the ability to pack up and move. It's costly and it's hard.

But more importantly, no one should have to make that kind of decision.

We need to ensure LGBTQ Americans have the same rights in all 50 states.

As New Democrats, which is the largest caucus within the Democratic Caucus, we know that the value of someone's work is not based on who you love, but rather how well you do your job and the opportunities you are afforded to compete in a fair environment.

Equality is good business.

So in the coming weeks, I look forward to casting my vote to pass the Equality Act.

And I'd like to add that it's time for the Senate and Mitch McConnell to do their jobs and start passing legislation that can help American families - and they can start with the Equality Act.

Courtesy of the Office of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA1)

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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1st Congressional District) speaks out to endorse the Equality Act
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