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128 Democrats Push To Add LGBT Protections To Civil Rights Act

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In a time when more and more anti-LGBT legislation is being introduced in America, at least 128 Democrats of both houses in Congress are trying to turn the tide by adding LGBT protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The amicus brief was headed by U.S. Senators. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I).

"Different interpretations of Title VII have led to uncertainty in the workplace and left LGBT Americans inconsistently protected from workplace harassment and discrimination, despite applicable federal law," wrote the Senators and Representatives. 

"We firmly believe that Title VII's sex discrimination provision already prohibits discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation and gender identity, and we urge the Court to overrule erroneous Second Circuit precedent to the contrary."

"People should be discussing it and debating it," Representative John Lewis (D-Geo.), a former Freedom Rider said. "No one should be left behind, whether you're straight or gay. It should be equality for all."

As the law currently stands, discrimination is prohibited based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." Former Attorney General Eric Holder stated that Title VII, which refers to discrimination based on sex, would also be interpreted to also apply to gender identity, a huge win for transgender Americans. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has confirmed this, adding that Title VII applies to sexual orientation as well. These rulings, however, may not be binding in courts, and an explicit amendment to the legislation could be helpful in any future cases. 

Only 19 states have clear laws against firing someone for being LGBT, and three more protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. In Tennessee and Arkansas, it's actually prohibited to pass or enforce local LGBT nondiscrimination laws. 

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