The bill, long in the works, he said, would prevent states like Indiana from using so-called “religious liberty” laws to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Many of us started to feel that the time had come to approach LGBT equality in a different way,” Cicilline said. “Why aren’t we putting together a comprehensive bill that prohibits discrimination against the LGBT community, period? We looked at a variety of federal protections that exist in the civil rights area based on race, and gender, and ethnic origin and religious tradition … why don’t we just add sexual orientation and gender identity to those existing categories that are protected from discrimination.”
Cicilline is co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and, according to a press release, “one of six openly gay Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.” When asked about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), he said: “The law permits discrimination, which it should not. It should be repealed.”
When I asked Cicilline about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s attempt to “clarify” the new law, Cicilline said, “It’s very hard to enact a law that discriminates against people or permits discrimination based on sexual orientation and then try to clarify that away.”
I also asked Cicilline if he’s ever been the victim of discrimination based on his sexual orientation. Listen to the full interview to find out what he said: