Amend the Constitution: GLAAD's Bold Proposal to Protect LGBTQ Americans

June 27, 2018

Rich Ferraro
Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028
rferraro@glaad.org

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis pledges public education campaign to galvanize Americans about the need for Constitutional equality

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

New York, NY – GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, 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 today on Advocate.com entitled “How to Stop the LGBT Rights Backslide.”

For more information and to voice support, LGBTQ Americans and allies can go to at: www.glaad.org/Constitution.

“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 GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate 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 country within the past three years.

Ellis continues:

“This will not be a short or easy road, but it is the only road that leads to full and undeniable protection. The only way to correct the baseline and cement LGBTQ legal gains without fear of slipping backwards 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 of time to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

This vision for the amendment builds on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which was introduced in the 1970s to grant equal rights to women but fell four states short of ratification.

In her Advocate.com guest post, Ellis explains:

“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 towards taking equality over the Constitutional finish line.”

To learn more: www.glaad.org/constitution.