Obama Supports Bill to Amend Civil Rights Act To Ban Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Discrimination

Penny Starr | November 13, 2015 | 7:21pm EST
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(CNSNews.com) – White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that President Barack Obama supports the Democratic-sponsored Equality Act that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination against individuals for their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

The Washington Post reported that Earnest said Obama had been reviewing S.1858 for “several weeks” and now is publicly supporting it.

“Upon that review it is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,” Earnest said during the daily press briefing. “That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.

The summary of the bill states: “Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.”

Earnest said the president appreciates lawmakers who have “stepped forward to try to advance a bill that would deliver comprehensive legal rights for LGBT Americans.”

The Senate bill was introduced in July by Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) introduced a companion bill – H.R. 3185 – the same month.

“The administration does look forward to working with Congress to try to advance this legislation consistent with the values that we have articulated about the importance of equal rights and making sure that people can’t be discriminated against because of who they love, while at the same time making sure that we can protect religious liberty at the same time,” Earnest said.

“And the president is confident that as this bill works its way through the legislative process, that that’s something that can certainly be achieved,” he said.

The Post article noted that The White House’s endorsement of the Equality Act came on the same day that Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to be featured on the cover of an LGBT publication, after he was named Out magazine’s “Ally of the Year” for 2015.

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