Golden Votes to Protect LGBTQ Mainers, Helps Pass Equality Act

February 25, 2021
Press Release
Landmark bill would ensure protections for LGBTQ Mainers don’t stop when they leave the state

WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02), an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, voted today to pass the bipartisan legislation through the House of Representatives. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections not just in the workplace, but in every place – in employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accommodations. 

These protections exist in Maine, but do not extend to Mainers when they travel to the dozens of states in the country that do not have explicit, state-level non-discrimination protections in many areas of daily life.

“No Mainer should be treated unfairly because of who they are,” said Golden. “I’m proud to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ Mainers by cosponsoring and voting to pass the Equality Act. This landmark legislation will help make sure that all people are protected from discrimination, wherever they are in our country.”

“Mainers believe that all hardworking people – including those who are LGBTQ – should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state and our nation. That’s why the voters spoke decisively in 2005 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” said Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine. “LGBTQ Mainers shouldn’t face discrimination just because they cross state lines, and we are grateful to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden for leading on this important bill.”

Countless members of the national LGBTQ community still live in states where, though they have the right to marry, they have no explicit, state-level non-discrimination protections in other areas of daily life. In 27 states, LGBTQ Americans do not have state protections against being denied housing because of their sexual orientation; 31 states lack protections regarding access to education; and 38 states lack protections regarding jury service. In at least half of the states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant or be evicted from their apartment the next. The Equality Act amends existing federal civil rights laws to create a nationwide standard that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity everywhere.