Watson Coleman Reintroduces Bill Preventing Discrimination in Public Spaces

The Customer Non-Discrimination Act would protect LGBTQ Americans at banks, retail stores

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Washington, May 10, 2019 | comments

 Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) has reintroduced the Customer Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that ensures fair treatment for LGBTQ Americans in public spaces and commercial services open to the public. The bill, also included as a provision of the Equality Act, adds sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity to the prohibitions on discrimination covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“We’ve come a long way in the fight for equality irrespective of what we look like or who we love, especially in states like New Jersey. But too many LGBTQ Americans still risk being fired, refused housing, or even denied healthcare just because of who they are,” said Watson Coleman. “This bill would prevent that, making it so that spaces like restaurants, banks, retail stores and hotels cannot refuse to serve LGBTQ people.”

The Customer Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced by Watson Coleman in 2015, amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to shield LGBTQ people from discrimination like that experienced by the couple that sought a wedding cake inMasterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The bill would also make updates to the public accommodations covered by the 1964 law to include retail stores, banks, legal services, healthcare providers and transportation services — ensuring that all of these public facing entities remain open to everyone.

The Equality Act, of which the Customer Non-Discrimination Act is a part, has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee and will be considered on the House Floor in the coming weeks. To see the text of the Customer Non-Discrimination Act, click here.

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