Today Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline, together with lead co-sponsors Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), introduced the Equality Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, and jury service.
During a Senate subcommittee hearing titled ‘With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions’, 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz and others bashed recent Supreme Court decisions granting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and ensuring that Affordable Care Act subsidies remain available. Cruz, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts labeled these decisions ‘judicial activism’, and invited witnesses to condemn the Court’s decisions. One witness, Ed Whelan, in written testimony stated: “The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling last month inventing a supposed federal constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex is brazenly lawless. In the flagrancy and magnitude of its errors in overriding, and cutting short, the democratic processes, Obergefell v. Hodges is rivaled in Supreme Court history only by Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) and Roe v. Wade (1973).”
What Just Happened
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a landmark ruling this week that the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protect employees who suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Following the Supreme Court’s recent historic decision to grant same-sex couples throughout the United States the freedom to marry and the right to recognition of their marriages in Obergefell v. Hodges, many questions have surfaced about just how the ruling will affect same-sex couples and families. In an attempt to answer many of these questions, legal teams at Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Freedom to Marry, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) teamed up to develop a joint FAQ.