Norton’s Open Letter to D.C.'s LGBTQ Community Celebrates Victories and Presses for More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today sent an open letter to the District of Columbia's LGBTQ community in celebration of Pride Month. Norton, who is celebrating this month's Supreme Court decision prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees for being gay or transgender, has participated in the District’s Pride festivities since 1990. Norton has been an outspoken ally of the LGBTQ community since being elected to Congress.
Norton marked the progress the community has made on marriage equality and employment non-discrimination but said that until the Senate passes the House-passed Equality Act, a comprehensive ban on discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, we will be short on what the community deserves. “Despite the importance of this month's Supreme Court victory, it alone cannot satisfy us,” she said, “It must energize us.”
Norton’s open letter to the LGBTQ community follows:
An Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community
Eleanor Holmes Norton
June 29, 2020
Last June, when we celebrated Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, we could not have anticipated that this Pride Month, we would have a second landmark Supreme Court victory for the LGBTQ community to herald. The Supreme Court holding that employers cannot discriminate against employees or applicants because they are gay or transgender compounds our joy after the Supreme Court holding for marriage equality five years ago. The Supreme Court ruling this month erases the indefensible anomaly that a couple could be married by exercising their constitutional rights but could be fired the next day.
Despite the importance of this victory, it must not satisfy us; it must energize us. Only the Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives on March 17, 2019, can make LGBTQ Americans equal to other Americans. Unlike prior antidiscrimination laws, the Equality Act is not a piecemeal approach to discrimination. It bans discrimination across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service.
I have participated in Pride festivities ever since I was elected to Congress. In marching with you in the Parade, I have seen the movement grow from the gay pride block party of 1975, long before I came to Congress, to a festival on Pennsylvania Avenue within sight of the U.S. Congress.
I fully intend on marching with you again in the future. As we adapt to a Pride Month unlike any in recent memory this year, our social distancing must not make us socially unaware.
My best wishes for a brighter future to all celebrating Pride.
Eleanor Holmes Norton