What Is This Equality Act Taylor Swift Keeps Talking About?

The “You Need To Calm Down” singer wants your support

August 27, 2019

As Taylor Swift approached the mic on Monday night at the 2019 MTV VMAs, flanked by friends and stars of her video “You Need To Calm Down,” her message was clear.

"In this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world, where we're all treated equally under the law," Swift said as she accepted the award for Video Of The Year.

The clip is a celebration of the LGBTQ community, echoing the ally anthem from the singer’s seventh studio album. But beyond the bright colors, inclusive message, and drag excellence is an actual call to action. “You Need To Calm Down” ends with a link to Swift’s petition in support of pushing the Equality Act to a vote in the Senate.

Many people answered, with over 500-thousand signing Swift’s “Support The Equality Act” petition on Change.org. "It now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House," she added from the stage with a smirk and a gesture towards the imaginary watch ticking down.

When Swift jumps into politics she jumps with both feet, but what is this Equality Act that she’s rallying fans for?

We’re glad you asked.

The Equality Act is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In the 55 years since it passed in 1964, the concept of basic “civil rights” has changed, and so the Equality Act was created to better define these freedoms.

The Equality Act would further prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and beyond. It’s a major step for the LGBTQ community, who remain exposed by incomplete legislation in states all across the country.

With the support of several national civil rights organizations, the bill passed the House of Representatives on May 17, 2019 and now awaits a vote from the Senate.

WATCH MORE: Taylor Swifts Donates $113K to LGBT Advocacy Group

No date has been set yet for a vote, but Swift sums up why it’s important to push for a response at this time in her petition. “Politicians need votes to stay in office. Votes come from the people. Pressure from massive amounts of people is a major way to push politicians towards positive change,” she writes. “That’s why I’ve created this petition to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act.”

“Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic,” Swift continues. “The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable.”

The Equality Act has gotten pushback from certain sectors, with conservative group The Heritage Foundation claiming harmful repercussions if passed including “politicizing medicine” and the “erasure of women.” President Trump has previously supported the idea of updating the Civil Rights Act, but more recently has objected.

In the spirit of equality, Swift reportedly made sure that each of the stars of “You Need To Calm Down” also received their own personal Moonperson award for their role in the video. Originally a statement for pride month, Taylor has proven to continue the fight for equality, as the signatures continue to increase.

You can follow along with the status of the Equality Act here, and sign Taylor Swift’s petition here.