WASHINGTON — The US House on Thursday voted to pass an act that will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Decades in the making, the Equality Act was passed in the Democratic-controlled lower chamber in a 224-206 vote. Only three Republicans crossed the party line to vote yes with all the Democrats.
The legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are protected against discrimination in employment, education, housing, credit, jury service and other areas.
LGBTQ is an initialism standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer or questioning — those who are questioning their sexual identity.
“It’s been long enough. Discrimination against #LGBTQ people needs to end. We need the #EqualityAct to be federal law NOW. This is about respect. This is about pride,” tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
Introduced every year since 2015 by Democratic congressman David Cicilline — an openly gay House representative — the bill was first passed in the House in 2019. Republicans subsequently blocked it in the Senate, which at the time was under their control.
This time, the bill still faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it was introduced Tuesday, as the Democrats need 60 votes — or at least 10 GOP defections given the current composition of the chamber — to bypass a filibuster.
US President Joe Biden has made signing the Equality Act within his first 100 days in office a promise during his presidential campaign.