GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis pledges public education campaign to galvanize Americans about the need for Constitutional equality
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, today spotlighted the need for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis presented the vision in a guest post on Advocate.com entitled “How to Stop the LGBT Rights Backslide.”
“At a time when LGBTQ rights and acceptance are rolling back at an alarming rate, setting our sights on enshrining LGBTQ equality in the U.S. Constitution is a new bar that we all need to reach for,” said Ellis. “It’s time to amend the Constitution. GLAAD will lead a national conversation around how the lack of federal protections for LGBTQ people leaves our community vulnerable to pervasive discrimination.”
Ellis announced plans for a multi-year public education campaign. The campaign will leverage news, entertainment, and social media to inform Americans about the need for federal LGBTQ protections in the wake of more than 75 political and policy attacks by the Trump administration and over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures around the country within the past three years.
“This will not be a short or easy road, but it is the only road that leads to full and undeniable protection,” continued Ellis. “The only way to correct the baseline and cement LGBTQ legal gains without fear of slipping backward is for the United States Congress to pass and the states to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that includes the welfare of all Americans, independent of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. An amendment to the Constitution is the permanent change that ends the rigor of court decisions and removes the formidable possibility that current or future Administrations can continue to chip away at LGBTQ progress.”
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution must be passed by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate and sent to the States for ratification. Proposed amendments must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states within a stipulated period to be added to the U.S. Constitution.
The vision for the amendment builds on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, introduced in the 1970s to grant equal rights to women but fell four states short of ratification.
“A previously proposed Equal Rights Amendment focused on gender equality and was nearly ratified in the 1970’s. The tenets of that legislation are still in need today and should be expanded to include all forms of sex discrimination, including against LGBTQ people.”
In the guest post, Ellis also calls attention to recent momentum for LGBTQ acceptance, but reinforces the simultaneous rollbacks and overall lack of federal protections to shield LGBTQ people from discrimination:
“The Supreme Court’s opinion in the Masterpiece case, which leaves the door open for businesses to turn away LGBTQ families by citing their religious beliefs, most recently spotlighted exactly why LGBTQ and allied groups need to turn our attention and resources toward taking equality over the Constitutional finish line.”
To learn more: www.glaad.org/constitution.