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Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Becomes First Senate Republican to Co-Sponsor the Equality Act

by Brandon Lorenz January 19, 2016

HRC hailed U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) for becoming the first Senate Republican to co-sponsor the Equality Act – landmark federal legislation that guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBT people from discrimination in many of the most important aspects of their lives. Senator Kirk joins Rep. Bob Dold, (R-IL)who announced his support for the Equality Act last week.

“Senator Kirk has once again proven his leadership, by becoming the first Republican Senator to co-sponsor of the Equality Act,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “His support for the Equality Act sends a strong message that fairness and equality are bipartisan values. It also reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of all Americans who believe that everyone, including LGBT people, should be able to have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live free from fear of discrimination.”

Polling conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) has found that 63 percent of LGBT Americans report having experienced discrimination, most frequently in the workplace.

GQR’s polling has also shown strong support among Republican voters for the Equality Act’s non-discrimination protections. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all likely Republican voters support protecting LGBT people from discrimination, as do 90 percent of Democrats. Nearly eight out of 10 Americans -- an overwhelming majority -- support non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans.

Last July, the Equality Act was introduced in both the House and Senate with a record number of original co-sponsors. Since then, several major companies, including Apple, the Dow Chemical Company, Hyatt, Levi Strauss & Co., Orbitz, and Target, have all endorsed the Equality Act.  In addition, the bipartisan legal team David Boies and Ted Olson -- who was a Solicitor General of the United States under former President George W. Bush -- also announced their support.

Our nation’s civil rights laws currently protect people on the basis of race, color, national origin, and in most cases, sex, disability, and religion -- but leave LGBT Americans at risk. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

Brandon Lorenz
Brandon Lorenz


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