PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION SUPPORTING H.R. 5, KNOWN AS THE EQUALITY ACT

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has historically supported the rights of the LGBTQ+ community including recently expressing support for House Bill 300, known by its sponsors as the Pennsylvania Fairness Act1, which would seek to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as protected classes; and

WHEREAS, in 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County2, which found an employer cannot discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and

WHEREAS, the Bostock3 decision does not provide federal protections from sex discrimination in areas including, but not limited to, public accommodations, lending, jury service, and most areas of federal funding; and

WHEREAS, individuals who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, but who are not, and individuals who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals often face the same discrimination experienced by LGBTQ+ people but are not currently protected under Bostock; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act, H.R. 5, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) on February 18, 2021, and in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on February 23, 2021; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 25, 2021 with a bipartisan vote of 224-206 and is pending consideration in the U.S. Senate; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would extend federal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would specifically amend the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq., to prohibit differential treatment in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings and other housing transactions for LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals4; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would add sexual orientation or gender identity as protected characteristics under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.5, ensuring that LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals cannot be discriminated against by those issuing loans or be subjected to differential treatment in credit transactions; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination in jury selection for LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals by amending the Jury Selection and Service Act, 28 U.S.C. Ch. 1216; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex and sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes, which would ensure that LGBTQ+ people, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals would be protected from discrimination by the providers of federally funded programs, including, but not limited to, schools, adoption agencies, law enforcement or carceral institutions, shelters and health care providers7; and

WHEREAS, the Equality Act would ensure that LGBTQ+ people, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals, are protected in public spaces by adding protections for sexual orientation or gender identity and expanding the range of public accommodations recognized under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, such as retail stores, restaurants, transportation and health care providers, and places that provide entertainment, among others.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association strongly supports H.R. 5, known as the Equality Act, and any similar legislation that would provide expanded federal protections to LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are perceived as LGBTQ+ and those who are associated with LGBTQ+ individuals,

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor’s designee(s) to communicate the contents of this resolution to the Representatives and Senators elected to represent Pennsylvania in the United States Congress, and other government officials, bar associations, the legal profession, the media, and the public and take any and all additional action that is necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: August 26, 2021


1 Press release available at https://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/NewsItem&newsItemID=1002089.

2 Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ___ (June 15, 2020), p. 1, available at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf.

3 Id.

4 U.S. Department of Justice, “Fair Housing Act,” available at https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-2 (last accessed July 2021).

5 Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, Public Law 94-239, 94th Cong., 2nd sess. (March 23, 1976), available at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/94/hr6516/text/enr.

6 Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968, Public Law 90-274, 90th Cong., 2nd sess. (March 27, 1968), available at https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title28/part5/chapter121&edition=prelim.

7 U.S. Department of Justice, “Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 42 U.S.C. S 2000D Et Seq.,” available at https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview (last accessed July 2021).