ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaskans Together for Equality (Alaskans Together), Alaska’s largest member-based statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization issued the following statement today from board president Elias Rojas in response to the passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Today, we watched as liberty and equality in our country took a giant step forward. In passing the Equality Act, the House has done its part to ensure that ‘liberty and justice for all’ are not simply hollow words to recite; they are national values that extend to all Americans, regardless of who we love or how we identify.
“As Alaskans, we are disappointed Rep. Don Young was absent for this historic vote. He has demonstrated in the past that he knows discrimination to be wrong, and it’s unfortunate that he missed this opportunity to stand up against it. Independence and individual freedoms are among our strongest shared value as Alaskans — values we wish Rep. Young would have been available to share with his Republican colleagues during this historic vote.
“Before the Equality Act becomes law, it must first be approved by the Senate. We’re counting on Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to do what Rep. Young wasn’t available to do and show up to embrace equality.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the authority to bring the Equality Act to a floor vote. We are asking Alaska’s senators to work with the Senate leadership for fast action on this bill that has the power to change so many lives for the better.
“It’s past time to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the classes protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act. Along with their colleagues, Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan have the power to make that change. We’re counting on them to do what’s right and extend equality to all Americans.”