WRITE TO CONGRESS
The following letter is a sample letter to your congressional representatives, if your representatives are supporters of the bill. (If they’re not a supporter, it’s probably not worth sending this letter, but it might be worth sending a different one urging them to support the bill in general.) You can fill in the blanks, and just send it off, but we urge you to personalize it in some way.
Dear [Insert Congressional Name Here]:
I want to thank you for supporting the Equality Act. This is an important bill which will be a huge step along our path to justice for all in our country. Here’s hoping it finds the votes it needs to land on President Biden’s desk!
Unfortunately, the act does not protect everyone it should. As noted in Finding #12, discrimination can be based on “an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, emotional, physical, or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender.” This is a wide range of potential forms of discrimination. However, the bill itself does not extend protections to all these areas. In the bill, the definition of sexual orientation (and therefore, any protection) is strictly limited to “homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality”.
It is clear that a plain reading of the text of the bill would not protect asexual, pansexual, or aromantic people, or any other orientation not currently enumerated. It also offers no protection against discrimination for perceived orientation. The current language of the bill would not protect me and millions of other Americans like me. It is as if a law protecting against discrimination based on religion were to explicitly define religion as “Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam”. Obviously that would be a narrow, restrictive, and wholly inadequate definition to use.
I ask that you work to update the language of the Equality Act to reflect the wide diversity of orientations that we recognize today and into the future. I ask that you please propose or support an amendment which would change the definition of “Sexual Orientation” in the bill to instead use the language from Finding #12, specifically, “The term ‘sexual orientation’ means an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, emotional, physical, or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender.” This is a much more inclusive and progressive definition and would go a long way to ensuring the law protects all Americans.
I hope that you are able to work with your colleagues to fix this oversight in the Equality Act.
[Insert Constituent Name Here]