The Equality Act – which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May with the support of Democrats and Republicans and now awaits action by the U.S. Senate – would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing and the judicial system. California already has some of the strongest protections for LGBT individuals, and the Equality Act would take many of the protections San Diegans and Californians already have to the federal level.
“For nearly half a century, San Diego Pride has played an important role in bringing people together to recognize and celebrate the LGBT community,” Faulconer said. “Despite the progress that’s been made, LGBT people still face discrimination. Every single American deserves equal rights, and we should give every American an equal chance to succeed in this great country of ours.”
Faulconer joins more than 500 local, state and national organizations and leaders who have expressed their support for the act. In 2014, Faulconer supported marriage equality as co-chair of the bipartisan group “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.”
"San Diego has always stood as a model for the rest of the nation, and boldly does so today by showing that we can all work together toward passing the Equality Act as a critically important and non-partisan step that our country needs to make to ensure the health and safety of our LGBTQ community in all 50 states," said Fernando Z López Jr., executive director of San Diego Pride. "It's an honor to stand here today in solidarity with our Mayor Kevin Faulconer and leaders of faith, business, and community to give our LGBTQ siblings across the nation hope and a unified call to action."
The group gathered at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park, which is hosting the first exhibition in the park focused on San Diego’s LGBT community, titled “LGBTQ+ San Diego: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs.” It is open to the public through January 2020.
“Fifty years ago, the Stonewall riots launched our modern LGBTQ rights movement and five years after that, San Diego held its first Pride March,” Ward said. “Pride is a celebration, it’s a space the LGBTQ community created for itself, where we can honor the legacy of past activists and protest ongoing injustices through the simple act of existing, unapologetically and unafraid.”
The San Diego History Center was also chosen as the recipient of this year's Stonewall Service Award by San Diego Pride in recognition of its support of the LGBT community.
The San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival is one of the city’s largest events with an estimated 300,000 people who watch the parade each year. The San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival kicks off with the Spirit of Stonewall Rally on Friday, July 12, and runs through Sunday, July 14.