Press Release • February 18, 2021

As North Carolina Communities Demonstrate Local Momentum for Nondiscrimination, Congress Introduces Equality Act to Protect All LGBTQ Americans


February 18, 2021

James Michael Nichols | Equality NC |

RALEIGH – Today, February 18, Equality NC, the country's oldest statewide organization dedicated to securing rights and protections for LGBTQ people, called on the U.S. Congress to prioritize passage of the Equality Act. The federal legislation, introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a landmark bill that would update existing federal civil rights laws to protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Protections like these are strongly by strong majorities across political party, demographics, and geography, including support from 67% of North Carolinians and 68% of Republicans nationwide. Nationwide, 83% of people support protections like those afforded by the Equality Act.

The national discussion dovetails as momentum for LGBTQ nondiscrimination builds across North Carolina. This year six NC communities – including two of the five most populous cities – have enacted LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, and other cities, towns, and counties will consider similar protections in the weeks to come. The NC is Ready campaign, led by Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality, has sparked conversations about discrimination and local protections from the mountains to the coast and everywhere in between.

Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality NC, said today:

"North Carolinians have led the way on passing LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in 2021, with six local ordinances enacted – but 93% of the state still lives in communities without nondiscrimination protections, and people are hurting. The wave of local ordinances is a hopeful indicator of the increasing support for LGBTQ people in North Carolina, but their passage is so necessary because state and federal lawmakers have failed to take action, leaving LGBTQ folks vulnerable. The fastest and most comprehensive way to ensure everyone is protected from discrimination based on who they are is a strong federal law, the Equality Act."

"As local leaders continue to take seriously the responsibility of protecting their residents and creating inclusive, welcoming climates, so too must our representatives in Congress. North Carolina's U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have the unique opportunity to show leadership on this issue and do the right thing by supporting the Equality Act. We urge them to look at the positive news on LGBTQ protections from across North Carolina, listen to their constituents, and take principled action. It's time."

The Equality Act previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2019 with a bipartisan 236-173 vote, including votes from 3 members of the NC congressional delegation. It was not heard by the U.S. Senate.


Equality North Carolina builds LGBTQ+ power through advocacy, education, and uplifting the stories of queer and trans North Carolinians in pursuit of racial and social justice.

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