NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE
January 11, 2005
Illinois Bans Anti-Gay and Anti -Transgender Discrimination
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Praises Equality Illinois for Its Tireless Work
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
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.