Support the Equality Act

Act Now for Equal Rights for LGBTQIA+ Individuals!


The House has passed the bipartisan Equality Act (H.R. 5), a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as protected classes alongside race, gender, religion, national origin, age, and disability. This would provide protections in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. The Equality Act (S. 393) has now been introduced in this Senate as well. We need to urge the Senate to pass this legislation.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) supports equal protections for our LGBTQIA+ siblings. The ELCA’s social statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust (2009) states that the “dignity of the human being reflects God’s deep love and stands against all forms of violence, discrimination, and injustice” (page 5). As a result, the ELCA “supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public services” (page 19). The ELCA has repeatedly spoken against discrimination in law or policy related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections the Equality Act includes match the principles for which the ELCA stands.

We now have the opportunity to urge adoption of legislation that ensures fuller protections for LGBTQIA+ persons. Many states have not enacted laws that prohibit discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in important areas such as education, employment and public accommodation. Learn more about non-discrimination laws here


Some U.S Senators support the intent of the Equality Act but have broader concerns about religious exemptions. There may be amendments proposed responding to these concerns.

As in the Senate, in the ELCA there is a diversity of beliefs and debates about possible impacts of this legislation on religious exemptions. To read more on the bill’s impact on ecclesiastical activities, see the blog post: “Equal Rights and Religious Freedom.” Affirming our conscience-bound diversity and aware of the need of religious freedom, support for the Equality Act need not waver. It is consistent with ELCA priorities.

If the Senate passes the House version of the bill, the Equality Act will go to the President for signature. If amendments are adopted there is a process for resolving with the House version these differences. The advocacy of people of faith who can describe their values will be crucial in this debate, in speaking to their legislators throughout the process and in monitoring the content of any amendments. 


As always, emails sent through the ELCA’s advocacy action center can be customized to tell your story and share your perspective. Please customize your letter. Passage of the Equality Act will make long overdue inclusions to federal law.

Now is the time to add our clear and faithful Lutheran voices to advocate for banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.


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