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S. 788 (116th): Equality Act

About the bill

Should the 1964 law which outlawed race discrimination be updated to include LGBT individuals too?


Great strides have been made this decade for legal equality based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including permitting openly gay troops in the military and the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. However, both those gains came at the federal level.

28 states still allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity on the state level, including in such sectors as employment and housing.

States used to similarly allow other forms of discrimination, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned any discrimination or segregation on the basis of four categories: race, color, religion, or national origin.

What the legislation does

The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to …

Sponsor and status

Jeff Merkley

Sponsor. Senator for Oregon. Democrat.

Read Text »
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2019
Length: 28 pages
Mar 13, 2019
116th Congress (2019–2021)
Died in a previous Congress

This bill was introduced on March 13, 2019, in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote.

Although this bill was not enacted, its provisions could have become law by being included in another bill. It is common for legislative text to be introduced concurrently in multiple bills (called companion bills), re-introduced in subsequent sessions of Congress in new bills, or added to larger bills (sometimes called omnibus bills).


46 Cosponsors (42 Democrats, 3 Independents, 1 Republican)

See Instead

H.R. 5 (same title)
Passed House (Senate next) — May 17, 2019


Position statements

What legislators are saying

Cardin Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Upholding LGBTQ Rights
    — Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D-MD] (Co-sponsor) on Jun 15, 2020

More statements at ProPublica Represent...


Mar 13, 2019

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

S. 788 (116th) was a bill in the United States Congress.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.

Bills numbers restart every two years. That means there are other bills with the number S. 788. This is the one from the 116th Congress.

This bill was introduced in the 116th Congress, which met from Jan 3, 2019 to Jan 3, 2021. Legislation not passed by the end of a Congress is cleared from the books.

How to cite this information.

We recommend the following MLA-formatted citation when using the information you see here in academic work:

“S. 788 — 116th Congress: Equality Act.” 2019. October 2, 2023 <>

Where is this information from?

GovTrack automatically collects legislative information from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources. This page is sourced primarily from, the official portal of the United States Congress. is generally updated one day after events occur, and so legislative activity shown here may be one day behind. Data via the congress project.