CLEAR Urges Congress include Nondiscrimination Protections in COVID-19 Legislation

Today, the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research joins with 183 national and state organizations in urging Congress to include protections for vulnerable and marginalized communities in future COVID-19 response legislation.

Thus, we urge Congress to include provisions in future COVID-19 response legislation to
ensure that no eligible person is unfairly denied the benefits of programs and services funded by federal COVID-19 response legislation as a result of discriminatory treatment or exclusion.

The letter has been organized by Family Equality a nonprofit with a mission to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change.

The letter with a list of current signatories can be found on the Family Equality website.

April 20, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader

As national, state, and local advocates we are writing to urge Congress to ensure that during
the coronavirus pandemic, all benefits, programs, services and assistance provided through
COVID-19 response legislation are open to all persons who are eligible and in need, free from

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to profoundly impact the lives of all Americans,
communities of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people will be disproportionately affected.
In Michigan African Americans make up 35% of coronavirus cases, and 40% of deaths, despite
representing only 14% of Michigan’s population; Illinois and North Carolina show similar trends. Evidence that Asian-Americans are increasingly subject to racist discrimination amid the
coronavirus is mounting. There is overwhelming evidence that Black women are already
subject to discrimination in the provision of health care. Given that 18% of Latinxs are
uninsured compared to around 5% of non-Hispanic Whites, and uninsurance rates were on the
rise for Latinx children prior to the start of this pandemic the crisis will have a devastating effect
on this population. 1/3 of U.S. households have people with disabilities and people with
disabilities are some of the most vulnerable to severe health problems caused by the novel
coronavirus – and to discriminatory rationing of care policies. LGBTQ people have long faced
discrimination in the health care system which has negatively impacted their health outcomes
and has additionally made them wary of accessing services in the first place. Women are
overrepresented in many frontline jobs yet are paid less than men for the same work; for
example, women grocery store cashiers earn on average just 65 cents for every man’s dollar.
We must not exacerbate existing health and economic inequities by allowing qualified
individuals to be turned away from federally funded services.

Thus, we urge Congress to include provisions in future COVID-19 response legislation to
ensure that no eligible person in need is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or
subjected to discrimination in the administration of programs and services funded by federal
COVID-19 response legislation based on non-merit factors such as (but not limited to) age,
disability, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy, childbirth, and
related medical conditions), race, color, national origin, immigration status, or religion; and to
ensure that fund recipients treat as valid all marriages that are valid under federal law.

Denying eligible people needed COVID-19 response services weakens public health and the
economy. We call on Congress to prevent such exclusions by including specific language
prohibiting discrimination in all COVID-19 response bills.


National Organizations:

A Better Balance
Advocates for Youth
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Atheists
American Civil Liberties Union
American Council of the Blind
Americans for Financial Reform
Americans United for Separation of Church & State
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Athlete Ally
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC)
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Black and Pink
Catholics for Choice
Center for American Progress
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Disability Rights
Center for Inquiry
Center for Law and Social policy (CLASP)
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Center for Public Representation
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Children’s Defense Fund
Children’s Rights
Clearinghouse of Women’s Issues
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition on Human Needs
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Disciples Justice Action Network
Faith in Public Life
Family Equality
Futures Without Violence
Gay Parent Magazine
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality
Hispanic Federation
Human Rights Campaign
Impact Fund
Interfaith Alliance
International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA)
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Women International
Justice for Migrant Women
Justice in Aging
Juvenile Law Center
Lambda Legal
Legal Aid at Work
Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Men Having Babies
Modern Military Association of America
Movement Advancement Project
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Association of Counsel for Children
National Association of the Deaf
National Center for Civil and Human Rights LGBTQ Institute
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Center for Youth Law
National Center on Adoption and Permanency
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council on Aging
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Equality Action Team
National Health Law Program
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
National LGBT Cancer Network
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Trans Bar Association
National Women’s Law Center
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Not Dead Yet
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
People for the American Way
PFLAG National
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Poligon Education Fund
Positive Women’s Network-USA
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
PowerOn, a program of LGBT Technology Institute
Pride at Work
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Raise A Child
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders
Secular Coalition for America
Secular Policy Institute
SEIU International Lavender Caucus
SPLC Action Fund
Swipe Out Hunger
The AIDS Institute
The Forum for Youth Investment
The Global Justice Institute
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Sikh Coalition
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Treatment Action Group
True Colors United
Ujima Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Voices for Progress
Whitman-Walker Health and Whitman-Walker Institute
ZAMI NOBLA: National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging

State and Local Organizations:

AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AJL Consulting
Atlanta Pride Committee
Auburn Seminary
Black Women’s Blueprint
California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network
Chinese-American Planning Council
embrella. Embracing and Empowering Families
Empire Justice Center
Equality California
Equality Florida
Equality Illinois
Equality North Carolina
Equality Ohio
Fenway Heath
Freedom Overground
Gender Justice
Georgia Equality
Housing Choice Partners
JustUs Health
Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc
Latino LinQ
Legal Voice
LGBT Bar Association of New York
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Mazzoni Center
Oasis Legal Services
OCTOPUS LLC (Organizing Communities Transgender Outreach Promoting United Support)
One Colorado
OUT Georgia Business Alliance
OutFront Minnesota
Peter Cicchino Youth Project, Urban Justice Center
Peoria Proud
Public Justice Center
QC Pride
Resolve New England
Resource Center
Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition
Silver State Equality-Nevada
Southern Arizona Gender Alliance
The Center on Colfax
The NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse
Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Inc.
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
Uniting Pride of Champaign County
Union Theological Seminary
Witness to Mass Incarceration