NATIONAL NEWS: Activist-Turned-Congressman Pushes for Equality Act

Plus: North Carolina lawmakers approve $500k to enforce anti-LGBTQ bathroom policy.

Congressman John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis

Legendary civil-rights-activist-turned-elected-official John Lewis is co-sponsoring the Equality Act.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis, the last surviving Big Six civil rights leader, is co-sponsoring a bill that would add LGBTQ Americans to the classes protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equality Act, which would make legislative revisions that would allow for nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has been stalled for years. The current attention surrounding LGBTQ rights during an election year has helped raise interest in pursuing the bill. “People should be discussing it and debating it,” said Lewis to a local Georgia TV station. “No one should be left behind, whether you’re straight or gay. It should be equality for all.” A recent Bloomberg survey found that three-quarters of Americans agree that sexual orientation should be protected the way race is.

North Carolina legislators are giving their governor $500k from the state’s disaster relief fund to defend their anti-LGBTQ bathroom bill.

Last Friday, North Carolina legislators did not budge from their position on enforcing anti-discrimination laws against their LGBTQ constituents. Lawmakers approved giving Governor Pat McCrory $500,000 to defend their controversial bathroom bill in court, taking taxpayers’ dollars from the state’s disaster relief fund. “Protecting the safety and privacy of North Carolina families by keeping grown men out of bathrooms, shower facilities and changing rooms with women and young girls has always been our primary objective,” GOP elected official Phil Berger said in a public statement. But North Carolina Democrats, LGBTQ advocates, and ally businesses have continued to put pressure on local elected officials to change. Major sport associations, including the NBA and NCAA, have recently issued policies prohibiting their events from being hosted in states that discriminate. A handful of superstar performers have also boycotted North Carolina since the bill passed earlier this year.