Skip to Content

Press Releases

VIDEO: Pingree, a Vice Chair of House LGBTQ Caucus, Urges Passage of Equality Act

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, a bill that amends existing civil rights laws to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

To watch or download Pingree’s floor speech in support of H.R. 5, click here.

A full text of Pingree’s floor speech is as follows:

Thank you very much Mr. Chair, thank you for yielding the time.

I want to thank my friend and colleague and fellow New Englander, Mr. Cicilline, for his courage, his perseverance, and frankly his political talents at moving this bill forward and bringing us here today…and I’m not gonna cry in my minute.

I’m proud that my home state of Maine is among the 21 states that has already enacted these protections.

For almost 15 years, Mainers have stood against bigotry to provide equal access to housing, employment, and public establishments for our LGBTQ community.

And guess what? The sky did not fall when we passed protections—and in fact, our state is a better, more inclusive place because of it. Having guaranteed civil rights for our LGBTQ neighbors means we value the health, safety, and dignity of every Mainer.

But Mainers—LGBTQ Mainers should have the same rights they enjoy in our state when they are outside of our state. This Congress must stand together in recognizing the humanity and civil rights of all LGBTQ people, wherever they may live or travel.

The Equality Act will ensure LGBTQ citizens have equal access to employment, education, housing, credit, and all public services—public services which their tax dollars fund, by the way. It’s time to extend these civil rights to everyone no matter who they love or how they identify.

I urge my colleagues in the House to recognize that we must equally protect ALL members of our community under the law. Let’s pass the Equality Act.

I yield back.

Currently, only 21 states—including Maine—have explicit laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and only 20 states have such protections for gender identity. In most states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant, be fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment the next.

The Equality Act has the bipartisan support of Members of Congress, the strong support of the business community, and the overwhelming support of the American people—with more than 7 in 10 supporting the Equality Act.

Back to top