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Bid to formally introduce “LGBT Equality Day” across the US

2015-12-06
A campaign led by a Washington Congresswoman seeks to formally introduce a “LGBT Equality Day” across the United States. Leading a group of 94 Democrats, Representative Suzan DelBene introduced a congressional resolution on December 3 to the US House of Representatives to mark June 26 a celebration of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the nation. The date holds significant importance for the advancement of gay rights across the US, given it falls on the anniversary of three landmark US Supreme Court decisions, reports The Washington Blade. On June 26 in 2003, Lawrence v Texas struck down state sodomy bans, on the same day in 2013 Section 3 of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act was also struck down, and this year state bans on same-sex marriage were abolished. DelBene said the day would recognise the victories of the past, but call for additional advancements on LGBT rights into the future. “In the last two decades, our nation has seen the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] overturned, an end to the criminalisation of same-sex conduct and now nationwide marriage equality — all through Supreme Court decisions handed down on June 26. “But even as same-sex couples enjoy the right to marry in all 50 states, LGBT people continue to face inequality and discrimination simply for who they are and who they love. “My resolution designates the 26th of June as ‘LGBT Equality Day’ not only to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also to acknowledge how much work remains to be done.” The wording of the resolution seeks to also acknowledge “the need for further legislation to ensure people in the United States are free from all forms of discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, including in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, Federal funding, credit and jury service.” While DelBene’s spokesperson Ramsey Cox said the 93 co-sponsors of the resolution were all Democrats, the party would not “give up” in finding Republican supporters. Other organisations supporting the resolution include the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the LGBT Equality Caucus. Government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, David Stacy, said his organisation supported the resolution due to the importance of June 26 to the LGBT community. “Over the last decade and a half, June 26th has seen three remarkable victories at the Supreme Court in favour of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans,” he said. “At the same time, far too many LGBT people face unfair, unjust, and unacceptable discrimination in their daily lives – a deplorable reality that Congress must address by passing the Equality Act. “Establishing June 26th as LGBT Equality Day would not only commemorate the day as one of significance and progress, but it would serve as a reminder of the tremendous work that lies ahead in the fight for full federal equality.”