With recent polls and votes showing the most support in history, NEAT has launched a national phone bank collaborative program as part of the #EqualityTime coalition to press for full federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. Through NEAT, dozens of organizations are collaborating on this effort by recruiting volunteers and hosting events using NEAT’s infrastructure - including the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom for All Americans, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, and PFLAG. Volunteers are connecting voters with their Legislators to tell them it’s time to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. The fate of these protections in the Senate is unclear which is why it is critical that our elected representatives hear from their constituents about this issue.
Launched in late February, NEAT volunteers have already made tens of thousands of calls. Phone banking can be done from anywhere generally from 10:00am-8:30pm in the volunteers’ local time zone. Volunteers can call when they want (Anytime Calling) or join a Calling Party with other volunteers to train together on Zoom and then make calls.
“I’ve been making calls with NEAT for several years. I have a transgender stepchild and I would like to make a difference in issues that affect them. We need to do everything we can to pass nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ+ people,” said Kim, a volunteer from Ohio.
Many Americans are shocked to learn that despite significant progress, 29 states do not currently have explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) Americans from discrimination. This patchwork of laws across the country leaves them vulnerable to being refused service at a restaurant, declined pick up by a car service like Uber, denied service by a lawyer or bank, or kicked out of a government funded homeless shelter simply because of who they are. And the need for these protections is clear—nearly 2/3 of LGBTQ+ Americans report having experienced discrimination in their personal lives.
The solution favored by the LGBTQ+ as well as progressive and civil rights organizations is the Equality Act. It would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also close gaps in current civil rights laws to fully protect women, religious minorities and people of color. While versions of the bill have been introduced several times since the 1970’s, if passed this time, the impact would be broader in scope following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in June 2019. In that decision, the Court ruled that the protections guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the basis of sex also extend to discrimination against lesbian, gay, and transgender Americans.
“For many years now, no less than 70% of Americans - including a majority of independents and Republicans - have supported full protections for LGBTQ+ people” said Brian Silva, Founder and Executive Director at NEAT. “It’s time for Congress to do what’s right, to do what the American people want, and bring this across the finish line.”
For more information about and how you can get involved, visit https://www.equalitytime.org.