House Has Voted To Pass Equality Act

Dylan Hoke

While the bill is expected to pass in the House, which is controlled by the Democrats, it will likely face more hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats maintain a slim majority. 

Updated at 4:37 p.m. E.T.

The House of Representatives has voted 224-206 to pass the Equality Act. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to face more opposition. 

Three Republicans joined all 221 Democrats in voting for the bill.

If passed in both houses, the Equality Act would extend civil rights protections to cover sexual identity and orientation, and would prevent discrimination based on sexual identity and orientation in housing, employment, credit, education, public spaces and services, jury service, and federally funded programs. 

However, in recent days, the bill has experienced some possible setbacks. The Washington Blade is reporting that Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) will reintroduce the Fairness for All Act as a compromise bill to merge LGBTQ+ rights with the protection of religious freedoms. While the Fairness for All Act does offer protections of LGBTQ+ persons, the Blade further reports that these protections fall short of those offered in the Equality Act, and could protect religious persons and organizations who continue to discrimination based on their faith. 

In the Senate, Mitt Romney (R-UT) has already voiced opposition to the Equality Act as currently written, and Susan Collins (R-ME) has withdrawn her support as a co-sponsor of the bill. The bill would also need 60 votes in the Senate in order to avoid a filibuster

The bill comes at a historic time for the LGBTQ+ community — and at a time when our country is still at a cultural crossroad. Confirmation is today underway for Dr. Rachel Levine, whom Biden has nominated to serve as assistant health secretary. If confirmed, Dr. Levine would be the first openly trans official to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Meanwhile, a “sign war” is raging in the House. Earlier this week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) posted a sign reading “There are TWO Genders: Male & Female, Trust the Science” outside of her office; the sign was in response to the trans Pride flag that Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) had propped outside of her office.

 

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