In a historic vote on Friday, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the United States. The bill marks the first time in American history that an LGBTQ civil rights bill has passed a chamber of Congress. Just a handful of Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
“Today's historic vote is a major milestone for equality and sends a powerful and profound message to LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ youth, that the U.S. House has their backs,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “No one’s rights should depend on which side of a state or city line they live on, and today we took a giant step forward in our journey toward full equality.”
The bill, which is now headed to the Senate where it is expected to languish in the GOP-controlled chamber, would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories to a host of current civil rights legislation.
Only 21 states and the District of Columbia currently protect LGBT people from housing discrimination; criminal codes that specifically identify LGBT hate crimes only exist in 20 states plus D.C.; and LGBT employees in 29 states face the prospect of workplace discrimination without explicit legal recourse, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Read more via Newsweek