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Bay State Lawmakers Cheer LGBTQ Worker Rights' SCOTUS Ruling, But Demand Broader Legislation

Congressional lawmakers from Massachusetts hailed Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Title VII’s prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sex also applies to gay and transgender workers.

But they also pressed for the Senate to take up broader protections for LGBTQ individuals.

“Look, this is an important victory,” Rep. Jim McGovern told WBUR Monday of the high court’s decision. “But that’s only limited to the workplace. We need to make sure that discrimination is eradicated and not tolerated in every segment of our life.”

McGovern cited the Equality Act, which would bar LGBTQ bias in a host of areas beyond employment, including housing, public spaces, education. The House passed the legislation, sponsored by Rhode Island U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, in May of 2019.

“And it’s been collecting dust on [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell’s desk all that time,” McGovern said. “My hope is that he will bring it to the Senate floor, allow there to be a debate and a vote, and I hope and expect it to pass.”

Other Bay State delegation members echoed McGovern’s sentiment.

“For over a year, @senatemajldr McConnell has refused a vote on the #EqualityAct, a bill the House passed that would officially ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ people,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “Mitch McConnell should listen to the Court & give that bill a vote.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy III said in a statement that the “Trump Administration threatens the health care and housing of LGBTQ+ Americans, the Senate must pass the Equality Act to finally enshrine these protections in our laws."

Sen. Ed Markey tweeted: “Workplace discrimination cannot be tolerated.”

“We have come a long way, but before today your employer could fire you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity,” Markey continued. “We still have far to go.”

“Finally! This decision is long overdue and a critical step toward full equality under the law for all #LGBTQ+ people,” tweeted Rep. Lori Trahan. “But we still have a lot of work to do. The #LGBTQIA community remains under attack from this Administration. The Senate must pass the #EqualityAct.”

Rep. Richard Neal called the ruling “a momentous victory for the LGBTQ community and our nation as a whole.”

“I will continue to use my position as Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means to ensure that LGBTQ individuals receive fair treatment in the tax code and to reaffirm the declaration that there is no place for hate or discrimination of any kind here in our country,” Neal said in a statement.

“Progress,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley. “This is a victory for every #LGBTQ+ person in our country & the organizers who fought tirelessly to make it a reality. No one should face discrimination for who they are or who they love. Today we celebrate, tomorrow we continue fighting for equality & justice for all.”

Rep. Seth Moulton tweeted that he is “thankful to the Justices who chose to be on the right side of history.”

“Finally some good news from the US Supreme Court!” said Rep. Stephen Lynch in a statement. “As a former Labor and Employment Lawyer, this is a welcome and overdue victory for LGBTQ rights and a victory for equal rights for all!”

“Considering the Supreme Court came to their decision by applying the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it seems fitting to close with MLK's words: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ ” tweeted Rep. Bill Keating.

This article was originally published on June 15, 2020.

Kimberly Atkins Twitter Senior News Correspondent
Kimberly Atkins is a senior news correspondent for WBUR, covering national political news from Washington, D.C., with a New England focus.

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