As it did in 2012, an endorsement from President Obama on gay rights could have a major impact on the movement.
The White House on Tuesday announced that it “strongly supports” legislation that would open up the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBT Americans. After reviewing the bill for “several weeks,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday, the administration determined it contained “bedrock principles of civil rights.
“That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans,” Earnest said. “We certainly are pleased with the many legislators in Congress that have stepped forward to try to advance a bill that would deliver comprehensive equal rights for LGBT Americans.”
First introduced in July by Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the legislation would ban discrimination for one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the Republican-controlled Congress, the president’s endorsement won’t do much to boost the chances of the legislation actually passing the Senate, let alone the House. But it sheds light on the fact that Americans aren’t protected against discrimination—and that impact, advocates say, is immeasurable.