The Equality Act, or H.R.5, passed in the House of Representatives on February 25. According to the official Congress description, “this bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.” The bill is also a step towards ensuring that people won’t be discriminated against based on being a member of the LBGTQ+ community, which is still a possibility in many different places, such as education and health care.
Story Napier, (10, HSU), believes that the bill is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t want to get their hopes up just yet. “I know these issues and my fear of being discriminated against will never disappear into thin air, but at least I’d have some sort of law on my side. So I’m happy with the progress, but weary. When dealing with my rights in the government’s hands, I try not to get my hopes up, ” Napier said.
Sofia Wallace, (9, J&C), agrees with Napier, believing the bill is a helpful way to get closer to equality in America. “I think that it’s a very necessary step to achieve equality in the United States. I think that no one should have to be discriminated against just because of who they are,” Wallace said.
Lilly Whorton, (9, VA), is glad that the bill has been presented and believes it’s a sign that people have started to become more open minded. “I think the Equality Act will really help others to be more open minded especially about people that identify as LGBTQ+. I’m happy to see that we are making huge strides to inclusivity, whether that is with sexual orientation, gender, race, etc. I know many people who have felt excluded because they identify in the LGBTQ+ community, and if this bill passes, it will make me feel safer knowing that people in the community won’t get hurt as often,” Whorton said.
Aiden Clark, (11, MST), thinks that the Equality Act is the beginning of a big change in America. “I feel that it is a necessary step towards improving relations between every member of every group in our country. I think that it is necessary in that it protects people that we truly care about. I think that this will not be the last time we see a bill like this. I hope that this starts a chain that leads to further equality of all social and racial groups in our country,” Clark said.
As the Equality Act gets closer to becoming a law, many seem hopeful at the promise of a better future for all. And hopefully, the Equality Act is just the first step towards more bills with similar goals.
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