March 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, PFLAG National—the nation’s first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies—applauded the bicameral introduction of the Equality Act, a federal bill that would add LGBTQ+ people to existing civil rights laws.

“Now is the time to act to protect all LGBTQ+ people and their families from discrimination,” said Brian K. Bond, former Obama White House official and new Executive Director of PFLAG National. “PFLAG parents want for their LGBTQ+ kids the same things that all parents want: job security, a home, a family, and unfettered access to healthcare and other crucial services. Hundreds of thousands of PFLAG parents and families across the country have been fighting for over four decades to secure their kids’ safety and equal rights as promised by the U.S. Constitution. I applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) for their leadership in introducing the Equality Act, the passage of which would ensure these rights at a federal level.”

PFLAG leaders from across the U.S. hailed the introduction of the Equality Act, and spoke about how the law would protect their LGBTQ+ loved ones from the very real damage done by discrimination and denial of basic services.

Don Holladay has been a PFLAG dad since 1995, and was the lead counsel on Oklahoma’s successful marriage equality litigation, which came before the Obergefell decision. “America has passed the point where people living here agree to disagree on the equality of all persons,” he said. “The equality of everyone living in the U.S. is the greatest promise of our Constitution, a promise we hold now and for the future.”

PFLAG National Vice President Dawn Holt, who hails from Portland, Oregon, said, “I am grateful to my Senator, Jeff Merkley, for sponsoring the Equality Act, so that LGBTQ+ people and their families across the U.S. can benefit from the same protections Oregonians have enjoyed for several years. No one--including my gay son--should have to limit the choice of where to live out of fear of being "outed" and fired, or the potential for being denied a place to live or scores of other services; that's a value all people living in this country should embrace.”

Drew Griffin is the PFLAG National Regional Director in the Pacific Northwest; for him, the Equality Act is life-saving legislation. "I have stage 4 colon cancer,” said Griffin, "And until there is a cure, I will live with disease and its multitudes of potentially lethal side effects. The Equality Act would ensure that I won’t be turned away from life-saving medical care based on my sexual orientation, even if the medical facility is operated by a religious entity. Peace of mind is an important part of surviving cancer and the Equality Act will literally help save lives."

"My son rose up in courage to live his authentic life as a gay man,” said Cathy Wyatt, PFLAG National Regional Director for the Great Lakes Region, “But to do so, he needs to feel safe and protected when he travels to visit friends and family in our home state of Indiana, where LGBTQ+ people are still unprotected in their jobs, housing, credit and lending, adoption and foster care, and so many other facets of daily life. Additionally, Indiana is a state where religion can legally be wielded as a weapon of discrimination. For my son's safety and that of his family, our country must pass a comprehensive Equality Act."

Ron Richard, president of PFLAG Greater Rhode Island, and the father of a transgender daughter, said, “I am very proud and supportive of Rhode Island’s U.S. Representative David Cicilline’s sponsoring the Equality Act. It is extremely important that LGBTQ+ people be treated equally under our Constitution; however, this is sadly not the case--and as a parent, this worries me for the security and safety of my daughter. Hopefully, with the passage of this legislation, this egregious denial of Constitutional rights will be corrected.”

Marsha Aizumi is a PFLAG National Board Member with a transgender son; her family is from California. “I am grateful to Speaker Pelosi, who represents my home state, a place which has legal protections in place for my transgender son and his wife. Sadly, though, they hesitate to travel to states where they are not protected, for fear of being denied crucial basic services, including housing, job protections, and medical services . The Equality Act would make them safer wherever they travel, and as their mother I want that for them.”

Chad Reumann, president of PFLAG San Antonio, and PFLAG National Southern Region Regional Director, shared, “As a gay man, I should be able to live or work anywhere in the country, without fear that I could legally be fired because of who I love.”

The PFLAG National Board of Directors this week issued a unanimously passed resolution in support of the Equality Act, which has also been translated into Spanish. In the coming weeks, leadership from the hundreds of chapters in the PFLAG National chapter network, which crosses 49 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to offer their full endorsement.

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PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. To learn more, visit pflag.org, like us on Facebook (/pflag), or follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or Instagram.

Liz Owen, Director of Communications
lowen@pflag.org
(202) 657-4026
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