Equal Rightsby Representative Mike Quigley
Posted on 2014-01-15
QUIGLEY. Mr. Speaker, next week, we will commemorate the life and
accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A revolutionary civil rights leader, Dr. King's movement combated the systematic discrimination against African Americans, but Dr. King fought hard not only for equal rights for African Americans. He fought equally hard for equality for all in this great Nation.
So it is altogether fitting and appropriate that we honor him and his extraordinary life, but it is equally appropriate to honor him by ending what is still legal discrimination in this country-- discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community--because denying civil rights to someone based on a person's orientation is equally inherently wrong.
We are all Americans, regardless of whom we love. Why does someone's orientation affect his or her legal status in this country? Every day that we continue allowing discrimination against the LGBT community is another day that justice is delayed.
I am reminded that when Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, he said that four score and 7 years ago we formed a Nation based on the notion that all were created equal, and they were in a war to determine whether a Nation so conceived could long endure. But I think what we can take from that is the realization that we have to ask ourselves every so often, did we really mean it back then when we said that all were created equal? This is one of those times when we have to ask ourselves, is everyone in this country equal? Mr. Speaker, we can end workplace discrimination against gay men and women today. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act has 200 bipartisan cosponsors, and identical legislation has passed already in the Senate. Yes, our colleagues in the other Chamber have already taken this small, but important, step.
When will this body step up and defend the rights of the LGBT community? When will the House majority join us in the fight against inequality? Dr. King said: The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Yes, the journey may be long, but I believe we can accomplish true equality for all in this country. I ask my colleagues to find the courage to stand on the right side of history. Mr. Speaker, bring ENDA to the floor and allow a vote on equality for all Americans.