LGBT+ Americans inch closer to ‘freedom’ as House passes Equality Act

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02/25/2021

By a vote of 224 to 206, the House passed the landmark Equality Act, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in addition to race, religion, sex and national origin. The vote closely followed party lines, with only three Republican lawmakers supporting the bill. “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.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people often encounter prejudice in housing, credit, jury service and public spaces, as only 22 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. State legislatures regularly advance laws that limit local LGBT+ protections. Since the start of the year, a dozen states have introduced or passed laws to bar trans girls from participating in girls’ sports leagues. For the Equality Act to become law, it must win 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, where there is a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

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