Press

Illinois Bans Anti-Gay and Anti-Transgender Discrimination

Date: 
January 11, 2005

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Praises Equality Illinois for Its Tireless Work

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 12 — Capping an eleven year effort led by Equality Illinois, the Illinois House of Representatives today passed a bill banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The bill was first introduced over thirty years ago in 1974. When signed into law by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, a supporter of the measure, Illinois will become the 15th state to protect gay people from discrimination, and the 5th state to protect transgender persons. The bill cleared the State Senate yesterday by a vote of 30-27 and the State House today by a vote 65-51.

"We salute Equality Illinois and its tireless leader, Rick Garcia, for today's extraordinary achievement," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This win again shows that dogged work by state and local leaders and activists can surmount enormous odds- and is real salve to a community still hurting from the results of November 2."

A non-discrimination bill first passed the House in 1993, also because of the work of Equality Illinois.

The law will add "sexual orientation" to the state's existing nondiscrimination statute which already bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations or credit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, marital status and military status. The definition of "sexual orientation" includes provisions to specifically cover transgender persons. A non-discrimination bill first passed the state House in 1993,

"The passage of this bill is a major advancement for transgender people, both in Illinois and countrywide," continued Foreman. "Once again, a state has proven that when we dare to dream to protect our entire LGBT community with one bill to cover everyone, legislators respond. The activists in Illinois have done a tremendous job."

Illinois becomes the fifth state to pass explicit transgender-inclusive language in its discrimination law, joining California, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. In addition, 72 cities and counties have transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws on the books. With the addition of Illinois, 27% of the U.S. population now lives in a jurisdiction with transgender discrimination protection. Eight states have enacted transgender-inclusive hate crime laws.

In addition ten states ban anti-gay discrimination - Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Nevada, Maryland and New York.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.