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Metro Brief: ACLU-NCA urges Congress to pass DC Anti-discrimination legislation

District of Columbia

On March 23, 2015

The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital has urged Congress to pass the District’s Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014 and Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, which the D.C. Council transmitted to Congress on March 6, to begin the congressional review period.

These two critical pieces of legislation prohibit discriminatory treatment of District employees and students, based on reproductive health decisions or sexual orientation.

The first bill, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, repeals a current exemption that allows religiously affiliate educational institutions to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The District has a substantial and compelling interest in ensuring that educational institutions in the District afford all students equal access to school facilities and services.

The second bill, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, protects employees from discrimination by an employer, employment agency, or labor organization, based on an individual’s or dependent’s reproductive health decisions. This will ensure that employees and their families can make their own private health decisions.

It is imperative that these measures survive the congressional review period and become law, said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of the ACLU-NCA.

“Our District employees and students must be able to count on being protected from discrimination,” said Hopkins-Maxwell. “We will not stand by and watch as opponents call on Congress to violate the spirit of the Home Rule Act – the District must be allowed to exercise its power of self-governance without undue interference.”

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