The US House of Representatives voted 224–206 Thursday afternoon to pass the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill, which passed the House in 2019 but died in the Republican-controlled Senate. The bill’s Senate passage still is not guaranteed, as it would need 60 votes to break a filibuster.
If passed, the Equality Act will amend civil rights laws to ensure protections for LGBTQ people in areas including housing, employment, and “public accommodations” such as retail stores. Proponents call it a necessary extension of the Civil Rights Act, while opponents have argued that the bill would infringe on religious rights, which were at issue in the case of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and prevailed before the Supreme Court.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), one of eight Republicans who voted for the Equality Act in 2019, has had an about face and cast a “no” vote this time around.
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) February 25, 2021
The bill’s passage in the House comes hours after Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), who has a transgender child, placed a transgender pride flag outside her office, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) responded by posting a sign outside her own office across the hall, reading: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. Trust The Science!”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has said he would not support the bill, citing religious liberties, and other moderate Republicans have declined to say how they would vote. If Republicans mount a filibuster, 10 of them would have to break ranks for the bill to pass.