This past Thursday (Feb. 25), the House of Representatives voted to pass the equality act, which would ban the discrimination against a person based on their sexual orientation.
All the democrats voted to pass the equality act while only three republicans in the house voted to move it forward. The bill was passed with 224-206 vote, with all the Democrats in the house and three Republicans to move it forward.
The Equality Act would prohibit discrimination, harassment, or victimization in employment and as user oof private and public services based on sexual orientation or identity, as well as gender reassignment.
The change in Republican sponsorship and voting from the 2019 bill is seemingly small but speaks volumes when the political atmosphere of today is considered. In 2019, the bill had three Republican cosponsors, and six representatives of house voted to pass it. This year, there were no sponsors for the bill, and only three members of the republican party voted for the bill to pass. (Three of the original voters have retired since 2019).
Mario Diaz-Floret of Florida, a nay-sayer on the 2021 version of the bill, said that the new version did not cover problems he had with the first one and the house democratic leadership “Ignored multiple good faith efforts by my colleagues and instead doubled down on some of the most troubling issues, including sabotaging religious freedoms.” The religious freedoms in question being exemptions form the bill for anti-LGBTQ+ religious organizations and medical professionals.
Joe Biden promised during his 2020 campaign that “I will make enactment of the Equality act a top legislative priority during my first 100 days”, and to make the equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ community one of his main focuses. The Biden administration has already made good on part of his promise, reversing the ban on transgender military service, issuing a number of executive orders advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through federal government, and issued the executive order that implements that U.S Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock vs Clayton.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it will need 60 votes to pass to a law. The bill has made it this far in the past but has fallen short on Republican votes to move it forward. There are 50 Democrats in the Senate, needing at least 10 Republican voters to pass to a law.
President Biden took to twitter to urge the Senate to follow in the footsteps of the House:
This was tweeted among the celebration of the Equality Act being passed by the house, including tweets from Senator Warnock:
Representative Jason Crow:
And even Grindr joined in, remembering when the bill had been voted on in 2019:
This vote also comes after Representatives Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene put up a transphobic sign outside of her office "There are TWO genders: Male and Female" outside of her office, which stand directly across from Democratic Representative Marie Newman's office, who's daughter is transgender.
Newman responded to Greene by using the incident in a fundraising email to her supporters, saying that the "hateful behavior put a fire in me and reminded me why I ran for Congress in the first place-to fight for everyones rights in the halls of power."