Midwestern PFLAG Mom to Testify on Behalf of the Equality Act
Dr. Edith Guffey, MSW represents PFLAG National and the United Church of Christ
WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, March 17, PFLAG National Board Member Dr. Edith Guffey, MSW will testify before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to pass H.R.5, the civil rights legislation known as the Equality Act. As Conference Minister of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ, an African American woman, and a mother whose son is transgender, Dr. Guffey will share her personal experience as a reflection of how her family is impacted without the legal protections the Equality Act will offer.
“We should all be able to agree on this one thing: the law should treat all of our children -- God’s children -- equally. Every single one of us would go to the mat for our children; none of us wants them to be turned away or discriminated against for any reason,” said Dr. Guffey. “Without the Equality Act, the law does not fully protect me as an African American woman, and it does not protect my trans non-binary child.”
The PFLAG community, made up of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies living in rural communities, cities and suburbs across the country, represents people who are most impacted by the current legal patchwork of discrimination protections in the U.S. Where an LGBTQ+ person lives affects whether they have fair access to housing, banking, health care, work, voting, jury service, public accommodation and more. The Equality Act would establish a minimum standard of protection throughout the U.S. for all LGBTQ+ people and shore up civil rights protections for people of faith, people of color, women, and people with disabilities.
“As a gay man living with HIV, raised in rural America, with a deep faith in God, and taught to have respect for all people, I have to pick and choose which businesses I frequent, where I choose to get healthcare, where I live, work, and travel. When I have no choice, all I can do is hope to be served without discrimination. This is because, like all LGBTQ+ people, I am not protected under current federal law and depend on a patchwork of local laws to protect me. For hundreds of thousands of PFLAGers across the country, the Equality Act represents the opportunity for this country to live up to its promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National.
In addition to adding protections based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Equality Act enumerates what “public accommodation” includes and provides more protection from discrimination to more people in more places. This includes transportation, health care, banking, entertainment, legal services, accounting, shelters and food banks, gyms, travel agencies, salons, and even funeral services. The Equality Act also ensures that the U.S. Constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion is preserved.