What if we asked for legal equality all at once in one comprehensive omnibus bill?
What would a bill for total legal equality look like?
We asked attorney Karen Doering, a very experienced and savvy civil rights attorney, to prepare such a proposed bill. It was presented and discussed on our listserv, which includes many of the major donors to the movement and the executive directors of all the major LGBTQ organizations.
We believe now is the time to introduce an omnibus bill.
THIS IS WHAT THE PROPOSED OMNIBUS BILL COVERS
3. Public accommodation
4. Public facilities
6. Federally funded programs and activities
9. Civil marriage
10. Hate crimes
11. Armed forces
But shouldn't we try incremental gains instead?
INCREMENTALISM vs. OMNIBUS BILL
Some people think that an omnibus bill is too unrealistic to pursue because Congress functions in a very complex way. But the country voted for a new leader who promised major changes to the way our government functions.
We have tried incrementalism at the federal level for LGBT equality for 35 years without any results. Now is the best time to capitalize on the energy of new leadership and propose what we think change looks like.
As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said:
"A right delayed is a right denied."
Asking for an Omnibus Equality Bill does not mean that we need to pursue it at the expense of incremental bills. Both approaches can be used simultaneously, and we encourage this strategy.
An Omnibus bill has two major benefits:
- It points out in clear legal terms all the areas in which we are not treated equally under the law. If we ask for less, we will certainly get less.
- It provides a standard to which incremental victories can be compared. We may discover, for example, that even the trans-inclusive ENDA introduced in March 2007 still did not provide the same level of protections in employment that other groups receive.
MINI-SITE WITH ALL THE INFO YOU NEED
We have prepared a section of our website with all the information about the proposed bill:
There you can:
- Download the actual text of the proposed bill.
- Review the frequently asked questions.
- Check the status of the incremental bills currently proposed.
- Vote on whether you support an Omnibus Equality Bill.
- Post your strategic thoughts about such a bill.
- Read quotes about whether this is the right time to fight for full equality.
If you believe that, in addition to incremental bills, we should also push for an Omnibus Equality Bill, tell your member of Congress, and tell your friends.
Join us to push for it, so that we can achieve LGBT legal equality faster.