On Thursday, the House passed legislation that would extend existing civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The bill would ensure equal treatment for LGBTQ individuals in areas including employment, education, housing, credit, public accommodations and others.
The House voted 224 to 206 to pass the legislation largely along party lines. All Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it will require at least 10 Republican votes to avoid a Senate filibuster and move the bill to a vote. As of now, no Senate Republicans have signed on to support the legislation.
The Equality Act passed in the House in 2019, but stalled in the Republican-led Senate when conservative opponents claimed the legislation would infringe on their religious freedom. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference Thursday. “I will use my power as Majority Leader to put it on the floor and let’s see where everybody stands.” President Joe Biden also supports the bill, and listed it as a top priority during his presidential campaign.
Editorial credit: GreteMiller / Shutterstock.com