US: House Equality Act Extends Civil Rights Protections to Gay and Transgender People

The House passed sweeping legislation on Friday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, passed 236-173, comes as departments across the Trump administration have dismantled policies friendly to gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, like barring transgender recruits from serving in the military or formally rejecting complaints filed by transgender students who are barred from restrooms that match their gender identity.

“The question before us is not whether the L.G.B.T.Q. community faces outrageous and immoral discrimination, for the record shows that it clearly does,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “The question is whether we, as Congress, are willing to take action to do something about it. The answer goes straight to the heart of who we want to be as a country — and today, that answer must be a resounding ‘yes.’”

The response from the Republican-controlled Senate and White House, however, is likely to be a resounding no. Citing concern for “the safety of women and girls in intimate spaces” and “conscience protections” in place for medical professionals who decline to perform procedures they find morally objectionable, the administration opposes the measure, according to a draft statement of administration policy obtained by The New York Times. While affirming the administration’s “belief in the dignity of every person,” the draft also cited concerns that the bill could “force schools to teach and affirm sex education that includes self-identified gender identity.” Read more via New York Times