Earlier today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) joined 235 of her colleagues, including Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3) and voted for the Equality Act, a bipartisan bill she cosponsored that would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and more.
“It’s 2019 – long past time for America’s civil rights laws to protect the LGBTQ community,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Today’s House vote means we’re a step closer to a point where Americans aren’t denied basic protections because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud to stand with the LGBTQ community today and every day.”
The House passed the Equality Act today 236 to 173. The chief sponsors of the bipartisan House legislation are U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law — including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government — to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.
The Hill, quoted Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights leader, applauded the legislation for continuing efforts to fight discrimination in the United States.
“Today on this day we have an opportunity to send a message now to help end discrimination in our country and set all of our people free,” Lewis said.
The measure, spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), was expected to be approved but faced opposition from conservatives, that insist the legislation would infringe upon people’s religious liberties, telling The Hill that the bill “is anything but equalizing,” in the words of Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.).
“In fact, this bill legalizes discrimination — government imposed top-down discrimination against those with time-honored views of marriage and gender,” Hartzler said in remarks on the House floor prior to the vote.
The Equality Act does not have much of a chance of coming up for a vote in the Senate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not allow it come up for a vote nor will President Trump sign the bill should it reach his desk.