Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement on the House floor urging the passage of the Equality Act.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, a critical piece of civil rights legislation.
Half a century ago, the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act became law, but we know that housing and lending discrimination remains a widespread problem. Former President Trump and his Administration were shameful and cruel adversaries to justice and civil rights, and worked to gut protections against housing and lending discrimination.
According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, sex discrimination made up the fourth greatest basis for complaints in 2019. As housing discrimination continues to harm an estimated 68 million people in the U.S., LGBTQ+ youth in particular remain at a greater risk of homelessness compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth, and same-sex couples are more likely to be denied a mortgage loan compared to hetero-sex couples.
This legislation takes key steps to codify existing protections for our LGBTQ+ neighbors under civil rights statutes, including the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and is similar to provisions included in H.R. 166, a fair lending proposal by Representative Al Green. My Committee has convened several hearings on this topic, including one this week about ongoing lending discrimination.
I thank Representative Cicilline for authoring this bill and Chair Nadler for his leadership. I urge my colleagues to please support this important bill that will ensure equal access to housing and wealth-building opportunities for generations to come by expressly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.