WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed comprehensive legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, even though it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Legislators passed the legislation on 224-206, mostly party line. Three Republicans voted with all Democrats.
The bill is one of President Joe Biden’s most important legislative priorities, one he will have adopted in his first 100 days in office.
The legislation amends civil rights laws, including the 1964 landmark Civil Rights Act, which had prohibited discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, and national origin to include protection based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It would also prohibit such discrimination in public places, on transport and in government-funded programs.
Rep. David Cicilline, DR.I., who introduced the House measure, said “every American deserves respect and dignity,” and the Gender Equality Act, if enacted, would “ensure that LGBTQ Americans can live lives without discrimination.”
He said it was important to pass the law because many Americans believed that protection was already enshrined in law. The idea that Americans could be denied service in a restaurant simply because of their sexual orientation “does not reconcile with our basic understanding of justice and equality,” he said.
The House passed a similar version of the bill in May 2019, but it died in the then Republican-controlled Senate. Eight Republicans voted for it in 2019, though no Republicans helped sponsor this year’s version of the law.
The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democratic members of a majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris in an uninterrupted role. It would need at least 10 Republicans to vote with all Democrats to advance the bill past an important procedural hurdle called filibuster.
Senator Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said he would use his powers as a majority leader to lay the bill on the floor and would dare Republicans to vote against it, though he declined to say when he would bring the legislation up in the Senate.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., The first openly gay-colored person in Congress, told reporters when he voted Thursday that he would “think of all LGBTQ activists marching, protesting and building a movement to protect LGBTQ’s lives.” people and extend our rights. “
Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Who had been the first openly gay member of Congress when it was first elected to Parliament in 1999 and the first openly gay member of the Senate when elected in 2012, told reporters as a lawyer, that she would have seen first-hand how the law was lacking in providing protection to her clients facing discrimination.
“It’s time to end this kind of discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” she said.
Although many states have enacted anti-discrimination laws, advocates such as the human rights campaign claim today’s patchwork “of laws across states that LGBTQ Americans are vulnerable to discrimination.
The Supreme Court ruling last June in the Bostock v. Clay County case extended workplace protection to LGBTQ Americans, but groups like the National Women’s Law Center say the legislation would codify the court’s ruling and create explicit federal protection for LGBTQ Americans beyond the workplace.
Some conservatives and Republicans have expressed concern that the legislation could violate religious freedom or lead to inequality in athletic competitions if transgender women compete against cisgender women.
In a speech on the floor of the house, the rep said. Yvette Herrell, RN.M., the bill would “force churches in the public square to do things that thwart their deeply held faith” and result in a federal government intrusion into privacy.
Cicilline responded to the religious objections, saying “religious organizations would still enjoy the rights they have” under current law.
The Conservative Heritage Foundation, which opposes the bill, say it could threaten religious liberties, give transgender athletes an unfair advantage and harm constitutional liberties.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Who opposes the legislation, interrupted a procedural debate on the measure on Wednesday and drew the anger of her Democratic counterpart.
Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., Whose office sits opposite Greene, put a transgender flag outside her office “so she can look at it every time she opens the door.”
Our neighbor, @RepMTG, tried to block the Gender Equality Act because she believes banning discrimination against trans Americans is “disgusting, immoral and evil.”
Thought we would put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens the door 😉🏳️😉🏳️ pic.twitter.com/dV8FatQFnx
– Congresswoman Marie Newman (@RepMarieNewman) February 24, 2021
Greene responded by sending an anti-transgender sign outside his office.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, spoke to the feud during a news conference Thursday, telling reporters that there was a “sad event this morning demonstrating the need for us to have respect. It’s not even just respect, but be take pride, take pride in our LGBTQ community. “
Contribution: Christal Hayes
This article was originally beaded in the US TODAY: The Equality Act with LGBTQ protection passes House, head of the Senate