Educators across the country shared their stories with members of Congress during a virtual lobbying day for the Equality Act, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. “We teach our students to treat each other how we want to be treated ourselves,” said NEA member Brian Kerekes, a high school math teacher from Florida. “Passage of the Equality Act puts that into practice. We are at our best when we respect, value and celebrate each other’s perspectives and what makes us unique.”
The Equality Act has already passed the House, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has promised his chamber will vote on it as well. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity, giving LGBTQ Americans explicit protection from discrimination in key areas of life: employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
The current patchwork of laws—most states lack non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity—leaves many students and educators vulnerable to discrimination and sends the message LGBTQ Americans are second-class citizens. The Equality Act would help cultivate nurturing and supportive school environments for LGBTQ students while safeguarding LGBTQ educators, often key sources of support and encouragement for LGBTQ students.
Urge your senators to support the Equality Act (S 393).