As the House debated the Equality Act, legislation reintroduced by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline that would establish the first federal LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections, Rep. Al Green delivered a moving speech in support of the bill.
In his remarks, Green fought back against the notion that God and religion are adequate reasons to deny people their civil rights.
“And still I rise, Mr. Speaker,” Green said, quoting Maya Angelou.
He continued, “You used God to enslave my foreparents. You used God to segregate me in schools. You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Have you no shame? God created every person in this room. Are you saying that God made a mistake? This is not about God, it’s about men who choose to discriminate against other people because they have the power to do so. My record will not show that I voted against Mr. Cicilline having his rights. My record will show that when I had the opportunity to deliver liberty and justice for all, I voted for rights for all.”
“You used god to segregate me in schools. You used god to put me in the back of the bus…” pic.twitter.com/dBBP14bter
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 25, 2021
Responding to Green’s speech, some (presumably Democratic) members on the House floor clapped in support.
President Joe Biden promised on the campaign trail that the Equity Act would be a top priority for his administration’s first 100 days. The act, if it is enacted into law, would modify many federal laws — including the Fair Housing Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Jury Selection and Services Act, and laws around federal government employment — to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.