House of Representatives Passes Equality Act

Equality Act BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of NBC News.

February 25 will be remembered as the day America finally took a step toward real progress for LGBTQ+ rights.

After years of struggle and stagnation, the House of Representatives finally passed sweeping legislation banning discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Known as the Equality Act, the legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBTQ people, Politico reported.

The proposal won unanimous support from House Democrats in a 224-206 vote.

Just three Republicans joined the effort to back the bill.

However, the bill faces an uncertain future in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats will need 60 votes to break a filibuster on the legislation.

“Without the Equality Act, this nation will never live up to its principles of freedom and equality,” Democratic representative Marie Newman of Illinois, who has a trans daughter, said on the House floor on Wednesday.

“I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know.”

As The Guardian explained, members of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States are still at risk of bias discrimination in housing, credit, jury duty, and public spaces. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

With a handful of states passing restrictive laws for trans people, state legislative bodies in much of the country continue to discriminate against the community.

In the last few days alone, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) harassed Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) with attacks on her transgender daughter, highlighting the fractured positions between the two parties.

Most Republicans say they oppose the measure because of its perceived infringement on religious freedom, not because of discriminatory sentiment toward LGBTQ people — a fine line that Greene “has effectively erased,” Politico continued.

For their part, Democrats have closed ranks on enacting the Equality Act, determined to keep their promise to their constituents.

“The Civil Rights Act is a sacred pillar of freedom in our country. It is not amended lightly,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a House floor speech Thursday afternoon. She thanked members of the Congressional Black Caucus who “gave their imprimatur to the opening of the Civil Rights Act to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.”