U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged the Senate to pass the Equality Act during an interview on MSNBC Sunday evening.
The Equality Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit and jury service.
“It’s incredibly important,” said Buttigieg. “The Equality Act makes it a matter of federal law that you can’t be discriminated against in these ways.”
Buttigieg was part of a special Pride program that aired on the cable news network. The program, Pride of the White House, was hosted by Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capehart and featured interviews with Buttigieg, White House Principal Deputy Secretary Karine-Jean Pierre, White House Deputy Communications Director Pili Tobar, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, Spokesman for the Department of State Ned Price and White House Senior Advisor on LGBT issues Reggie Greer.
The Equality Act, Buttigieg said, is a reminder that marriage equality is not the end of the story. He said the struggles faced by trans women of color warrant a federal response with executive orders but must be enshrined in federal law.
“People still fear losing their home, their profession and that’s got to change,” Buttigieg said.
In February, the Equality Act passed through the House on a 224 to 206 vote. It currently awaits debate in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee where it has 48 sponsors.
Buttigieg is the first out gay cabinet member to be confirmed by the Senate. His appearance on the MSNBC Pride program was part of a recent media push by the DOT leader. On Monday, Buttigieg was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he discussed the recent string of state-level restrictions placed on trans people.
“What we are talking about is someone’s ability to live and live well and that’s one of the basic things politicians are in charge of securing, not threatening,” Buttigieg said.
Continuing his New York tour on the radio podcast, The Breakfast Club, Buttigieg engaged in a robust discussion over what he called an “unfortunate political game that’s being played with Critical Race Theory.”
“I think [CRT] is a political strategy that has arisen in certain conservative circles to take anybody who is honest and critical about patterns of racism in this country and use it to say that you are now against this country,” Buttigieg said.