WASHINGTON—Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) joined a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ+ Americans today. The hearing, titled “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans”responds to rising discrimination, threats, and hate crimes towards LGBTQ+ people across the country. A recent study noted that anti-LGBTQ+ attacks online and in-person increased 30-fold between 2017 and 2022.
In his remarks, Sen. Welch discussed Vermont’s early leadership in advancing LGBTQ+ civil unions and marriage, and the need to support the LGBTQ+ community in Vermont and across America through strong codified protections like the recently re-introduced Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“None of us know what shoes each of us walks in. We just know we’re all trying to figure out life and who we are, and how we can be who we are, and be fully, fully engaged in being a generous, open and loving person to everyone else,” said Sen. Welch. “The Equality Act, I think, is so important, because it essentially acknowledges with the force of law that LGBTQ+ folks are entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else.”
Sen. Welch is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, legislation to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ+ people. The bill would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expand protections for people of color, women, and other groups. For more on the Equality Act, please click here.
For footage from today’s hearing, please click the image below.