Washington, DC — On Thursday February 25th, Congressman Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay Afro Latino Member of Congress and a Co-Chair of the Equality Caucus delivered remarks on the Equality Act, landmark legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, during House debate.
See the Congressman’s full remarks are below:
“As a child of the Bronx who grew up in the projects, I was often too scared to come out of the closet, too blinded by fear to see clearly my own value, my own equality. My younger self could have never imagined standing on the floor of the House as a Member of Congress, voting for legislation that, if enacted, would make me equal in the eyes of the law.
As the first LGBTQ Afro-Latino Member of Congress, I feel palpably the weight of history on my shoulders. On behalf of my community, I am here to claim what discrimination denies: equal protection under the law.
Indeed, we are here to uphold the abiding truth of the American experiment, that we are all created equal and that none of us should be evicted, fired, or denied accommodations and services simply because of who we are and because of whom we love.
We are equal by nature, and we ought to be equal by law. The logic of equality is as simple as that.
Yesterday, a Member of Congress said that the Equality Act was “disgusting, evil, immoral.” I wish to set the record straight.
What is truly immoral and disgusting and evil is discrimination. It always has been, and it always will be.
Discrimination denies us our deepest humanity. The profound degradation it causes has no place in a society that pledges liberty and justice for all.
So I hope that my colleagues, all of them, will find the moral courage to uphold what the Declaration of Independence promises and what the Equality Act delivers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of us, without exception, without discrimination.”