This bill would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination (through changes to existing civil rights laws) in “public accommodations” and federal funding on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The definition of public accommodations under the Civil Right Act of 1964 would be expanded to cover nearly every entity that offers goods, services, or programs — including retailers, banks, and transportation or healthcare providers, among others. For example, public bathrooms count as a "public accommodation" — so it would be illegal to deny a person access to a public restroom based on their gender identity.
Sexual orientation and gender identity join the list of already protected classes including race, color, religion, sex, disability status and national origin. This applies to public and private sector entities with at least 15 employees, as well as labor organizations.
Existing religious exemption would remain in place, so religious entities could still hire individuals of a particular faith to do work related to religious activities. However, defendants could not use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense to alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Dept. of Justice (DOJ) and the Attorney General would be authorized to initiate cases against state and local governments for discrimination that occurs in publicly owned facilities other than public schools and public colleges. Given that sexual orientation and gender identity would be added to the list of protected classes, the DOJ could also intervene in equal protection cases.