WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act. Below are excerpts from his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“I proudly rise in support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, and I congratulate Mr. [David] Cicilline and all those who have worked on getting this bill to this point on this Floor. We passed it before, of course, and it sent it to the United States Senate – they ignored it, to their discredit. The House passed this bill last Congress with bipartisan support. I hope we have bipartisan support this year.
“I remember, Mr. Speaker, back in the days of the early 1960's and mid-1960's, there were giants in the Republican Party who stood with Democrats on behalf of Civil Rights. I hope we can repeat that today.”
“There are moments in history that are celebrated for generations as those in which Americans came together to perfect our Union – to protect and uphold the universal rights enshrined in our founding documents. That's what we as the nation did with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. It's what we did with the 19th Amendment.”
“…Equality is for everyone, all the time, everywhere. This legislation, Mr. Speaker, would ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in every area where it still exists, and in every state that still permits it.”
“Fairness and equality for all. That includes housing, public education, personal finance and credit, employment, health care, jury service, public accommodations. The practical effect of such legalized discrimination is the denial of opportunities and economic security to certain Americans because of their gender, identity, or sexual orientation. The practical effect of this bill, Mr. Speaker, will be to open the doors of opportunity and economic security to those for whom they were shut for far, far too long.”
“I want to express my gratitude to the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, which has provided leadership both in shaping and improving this legislation and championing its adoption. The House will pass this legislation today, and I hope it will not be lost in the politics of the Senate.”
“When I grew up in the 1960's, in the Civil Rights Movement, many Republican leaders were giants in this effort. I hope the Senate Republicans, who have stood in the way of equality, of opportunity for LGBTQ Americans for too long will finally come together with them in a bipartisan fashion and allow an up or down vote. That's all we ask, an up or down vote.”
“Most Americans who come to understand that ending discrimination for LGBTQ people is about the fundamental rights and dignity of their fellow Americans. It's about who we are as a country, who we claim to be, but for far too long we're not, and we know we are not there yet, but this is a very significant and important step for us to take in a land of opportunity for all, a land of liberty and justice for all.”
“So let us affirm that today in this House, and I hope the Senate in days to come will join in that affirmation, of justice for all. And let us make this a day to remember in our history as one where we came together to perfect our Union.”