By Beth Treffeisen
The Boston City Council passed a resolution in support of amending the Civil Rights Act to be more inclusive on the issue gender identity and sexual orientation. The proposed change that is sponsored by U.S. Representative David Cicilline and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include those two issues.
City Councilor Josh Zakim and City Council President Michelle Wu filed the resolution that passed unanimously at last week’s hearing on January 25.
This move comes after President Donald Trump has spoken about targeting certain groups and restricting protections.
“It’s always the right time to do the right thing,” said City Councilor Josh Zakim. “It has gotten some traction in Congress with the New England representatives and at a time like this when people who are divided it is a good time to stand up.”
Zakim said that it is important to take every opportunity they have to give a voice in what people from the City of Boston believe in.
“It is important people have some protection and can participate in solidarity and fully in our community,” said Zakim.
Zakim said he is filing this resolution because the Equality Act that has been proposed in Congress addresses folks who have not been historically included in federal discrimination laws.
He wants to make it clear that the LGBT community, women, and gender identity are addressed and protected under the law.
“We are in a brave new world where it is no longer a given in our country and certainly not in Washington, D.C.” said Zakim.
He said that it is important to make sure that everyone has a place at the table in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Even though it is up to Congress to pass this legislation, Zakim believes it is timely and important time that the people of Boston stand up, like they’ve already have many times over the past few years, for civil rights and equality for all.
“In a time of assault on so many of our values we need to stand up and say that in the City of Boston we value everyone, regardless of their background, what they look like, regardless of who they love, who they identify and we do stand for that in Boston and we have legislated for that,” said Zakim.
“We want to send this to Washington and make sure that we are adding our voice to the people,” said Zakim. “There are millions and millions of people standing up in our country and speaking about our values and we have that opportunity to join them in that as well.”