Many are celebrating the U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass the Equality Act, a major LGBTQ rights bill that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, credit, jury service education and public accommodations.
The act amends the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. The Equality Act has been introduced every year since 2015 by Rep. David Cicilline, (D-R.I.), one of nine LGBTQ representatives.
“The LGBTQ community has waited long enough,” said Cicilline, who introduced the bill for the sixth time on the House floor. “The time has come to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans, regardless of who they are or who they love.”
The 224-206 vote passed along party lines with three Republicans voting for the legislation. GOP Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), John Katko (R-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) voted for the act which will face a difficult time getting passed in the Senate because of the 60-vote threshold required to bypass a Republican filibuster which is expected.e threshold is required to bypass a filibuster.
In a statement issued by Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA) who voted to approve the legislation, Williams stated, “I am in Congress to secure the promise of America for all – no matter who they love or how they identify.” The chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia added, “LGBTQ+ people have lived in fear of punishment or retaliation for far too long. Today’s bill passage goes a long way in affirming that living without fear or being free from discrimination is not a matter of privilege, but an inalienable right.”