TRANSCRIPT: At Event To Push For Passage Of Equality Act, Schumer Slams Recent GOP Attacks Against LGBTQ+ Community

February 25, 2021

Washington, D.C. Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), during a bicameral event to push for passage of the Equality Act, slammed the recent GOP attacks against the LGBTQ+ community. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Thank you Speaker Pelosi, it's great to be here. I want to thank all of my colleagues. I want to thank my dear colleague Senator Merkley for his steadfast, unrelenting passion on this issue. He reminds us every day how we have to pass the Equality Act, because that's what America is all about. And Jeff has been a great leader here, and I thank him. Tammy Baldwin, of course, is one of our just outstanding senators who's been right by Jeff’s side, pushing this bill. And I want to thank all of the House sponsors and Senator Cory Booker, who is also at Mr. Merkley’s side pushing this legislation.

And I want to start by addressing head on some of the despicable comments made by a few Republicans about trans people. Their attacks on trans people and the transgender community are just mean and show a complete lack of understanding, a complete lack of empathy.

They don't represent our views and they don't represent the views of a majority of Americans.

Their despicable comments just make my blood boil with anger. If I didn't have a mask, you could see my teeth gritting.

 But that's why we're here today to talk about the Equality Act. That's why we need it—because of the hate out there. It gets in the way of the great American dream of equality. In many ways the story of America has been about making those words true for all Americans.

That's what brings us here today to reintroduce the Equality Act in the Senate–essential, urgent, long overdue—that will move us closer to a society where all Americans are equally treated under the law. Even today, the signs of discrimination based on sexual orientation abound, from education to housing to family planning, from the workplace to adoption, to immigration.

Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people remains is serious problem that demands Congress's attention. Congress must pass the Equality Act so that LGBTQ+ Americans will no longer have to face discrimination in some of these most basic areas of life.

This legislation is personal for me. Just six years ago, LGBTQ Americans like my daughter won the legal right to marry who they love. The Equality Act would make sure she can continue living her life with her wife with the security and dignity of knowing she won't face basic discrimination because of who she is. So proud of them. So proud.

Now, no American should ever face discrimination because of who they are and who they love. When the Equality Act passed the Congress last year, it was a bipartisan vote.

Yet, for years Leader McConnell buried the Equality Act and other commonsense bipartisan House-passed bills in his legislative graveyard. Those days are over. Those days are over. Now with Democrats in the majority, the Senate will have the opportunity to act on this critical civil rights legislation.

I will use my power as Majority Leader to put it on the floor and let's see where everybody stands. Let's see where everybody stands.

I'm hopeful that just like in the House, the Equality Act will get Republican votes and pass the Senate with bipartisan support. And of course, we now have an ally in the White House with President Biden, who's promised to make the Equality Act a priority.

Discrimination against LGBTQ Americans should be over once and for all, and Democrats will fight tooth and nail to make sure that that happens.