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WATCH: Samira Wiley’s dad testifies to Congress in support of the Equality Act

WATCH: Samira Wiley’s dad testifies to Congress in support of the Equality Act

Pastor Dennis W. Wiley testifying in front of the House of Representatives on behalf of the Equality Act

Dad of Orange is the New Black star Samira Wiley, Dennis W. Wiley, testified in front of Congress in support of the Equality Act.

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Dennis W. Wiley, the pastor of an LGBTI-inclusive Church, appeared before the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, 2 April. He spoke in support of the Equality Act. The Act would extend existing civil rights laws to ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The pastor, whose DC-based church was one of the first in the area to embrace same-sex weddings, urged the House to protect LGBTI citizens in all 50 states.

‘Our LGBTQ brothers and sisters should never have to fear losing a job, being evicted from a house or apartment, being refused service at a restaurant, denied approval or a loan or rejected admission to a school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,’ he stated.

Samira’s coming out

In his speech, he also discussed his daughter coming out to him a few years back.

‘A couple of years after we agreed to perform [same-sex] union services at our church, we went to New York to see our younger daughter act in a play,’ he recalled. ‘After we arrived in the city, she stopped by our hotel for a visit because she said she wanted to share something with us. It was then that she came out to us as a lesbian.’

‘We were shocked because we did not see this coming. However I immediately got up, went over to her, gave her a hug and told her how much I loved her.’

‘My wife was a little slower responding, not because she was disappointed or upset. But because being a mother she was afraid of what danger our daughter might face.’

‘I am happy to tell you today that my daughter is doing just fine,’ he added. ‘As a successful, Emmy Award-winning actress who is happily married to the love of her life, [OITNB writer] Lauren Morelli.’

‘Not every LGBTQ kid is as lucky as Samira. But when I told Samira that I would be giving this testimony today, she wanted me to tell you that if we, her parents, had not accepted her for who she is, she would not have the courage, confidence or self-esteem to be a successful actress and positive role model for other LGBTQ persons.’

‘Let’s make sure the Equality Act becomes law. So that all of our beautiful, promising, gifted LGBTQ citizens, just like my daughter and daughter-in-law, can live their lives free of fear, free of bigotry, and free of discrimination.’

The speech

Watch Dennis W. Wiley’s speech below:

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