WASHINGTON - Sen. Jeff Merkley D-Ore., released the following statement Wednesday after President Trump reversed the Justice Department’s policy protecting transgender students.
“Our nation should never settle for anything less than full equality and full rights for every single American. This is especially important in our schools, where no student should ever have to fear discrimination simply because of their identity.
“Transgender students already face difficult challenges in school — bullying, harassment — and this move will make it harder for these students to succeed in school.
“We must take a stand for equality and against discrimination, and keep the Justice Department’s guidance about how to include transgender students equally.
“Ultimately, Congress must act to extend basic equal rights to all Americans.”
Merkley in 2015 authored and introduced the Equality Act, a comprehensive bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from discrimination. The Act adds sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes in existing federal civil rights laws, such as race and gender, to ensure that everyone is treated equally. Last year, the Obama White House expressed support for the Equality Act.