ALL NEWS

House passes Equality Act aimed at ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Feb 25, 2021, 3:09 PM
Equality Act...
The U.S. Capitol is seen, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, in Washington. On Thursday, the U.S. Sentate passed a bill that will keep the government open through Dec. 23. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The House has passed the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and other services as well as access to public accommodations such as restaurants.

The final vote was 224-206. Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill. Reps. John Katko, Tom Reed, and Brian Fitzpatrick voted with Democrats on this vote, and did so when the legislation passed in the House in 2019 as well. When the bill passed the House floor in 2019, eight Republicans joined Democrats to vote for the legislation.

Advocates for the LGTBQ community argue the legislation will help protect people in states where it’s legal to discriminate people and add the law is long overdue.

The House first passed the Equality Act in 2019, but now its passage comes under Democratic control with President Joe Biden in the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announcing Thursday he already intends to bring this legislation to the floor.

“We are really excited to have the incredible support of President Biden and his commitment to make the Equality Act the law of the land,” Rep. David Cicilline, a cosponsor of the Equality Act said Thursday. “Every American deserves respect and dignity and it’s important that the Equality Act become law because it will once and for all ensure that LGBTQ Americans can live lives free of discrimination.”

But critics of the legislation argue it raises serious concerns for religious communities as well as women’s sports. Republicans point to a provision in the legislation saying an individual could not be denied access to a restroom, locker room or dressing room based on their gender identity.

Opponents say that would force women and girls to share private spaces with men. Critics also say the bill could facilitate men participating in women’s sports if they identify as female.

Transgender athletes in recent years have fought against legislation aimed at limiting their participation due to their gender identity. Many argue such policies violate Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law in education credited with leveling the playing field for women in sports.

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, who is the chair of the most conservative caucus in the House, railed against the legislation, saying it would be a “devastating attack on humanity.”

“While it attacks religious freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of association, all important rights recognized in the first amendment, it doesn’t stop there, it also denies the biological facts that men and women are the two genders,” he said Thursday. “The bill recklessly requires girl’s and women’s restrooms, lockers, gyms, or any place a female might seek privacy, to surrender that privacy to biological males. Women’s sports are already being infiltrated.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Equality Act is just a part of an “onslaught against freedom” from the Biden administration.

“I mean if you look at Biden’s appointments to Cabinet members, suing nuns and others, this is really seems like an onslaught against freedom of religion, girls’ sports as well, and others,” he said during his weekly press conference. “If you’re a member of Congress, interesting to me how far they have gone and how much further they want to go.”

One Republican freshman who has repeatedly come under fire for her controversial comments, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has made a point in standing in opposition this legislation, and even went as far as posting an anti-transgender sign outside of her office directly across the hall from a lawmaker who has a transgender child.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed some of the “despicable comments made by a few Republicans about trans people,” without naming them on Thursday.

“Their attacks on trans people in the transgender community are just mean. Mean,” the Democrat from New York said at a news conference ahead of the Houses’ passage of the Equality Act. “And show a complete lack of understanding, complete lack of empathy. They don’t represent our views and they don’t represent the views of a majority of Americans. Their despicable comments just make my blood boil with anger. If I didn’t have a mask you could see my teeth gritting.”

“It breaks my heart that is necessary,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the legislation at her weekly press conference Thursday morning. “But the fact is, and in fact, we had a sad event here even this morning demonstrating the need for us to have respect. Not even just respect but take pride, take pride in our LGBTQ community.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Protesters block traffic as they rally against the fatal police assault of Tyre Nichols, in Venice,...
Nouran Salahieh, Holly Yan and Nick Valencia, CNN

A 6th Memphis officer is taken off the force after the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols

Grisly video showing Memphis police beating a 29-year-old Black man has spawned nationwide protests.
10 hours ago
Water levels have hit historic lows at the Great Salt Lake. (Fox 13)...
Ben Winslow, Fox 13

Water, Great Salt Lake bills to be unveiled in the Utah State Legislature

Lawmakers are expected to spend upwards of $500 million on water conservation and Great Salt Lake measures this year.
10 hours ago
An officer-involved shooting on Jan. 29, 2023 sent a suspect to the hospital via Life-Flight. (Phot...
Amie Schaeffer

Officer-involved shooting in Iron County

A suspect in an Iron County officer-involved shooting Sunday evening sent the suspect to the hospital via Life Flight.
10 hours ago
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - JANUARY 07: Tall pine trees outside Richneck Elementary School on January 7, 202...
Brian Todd, Hannah Sarisohn, Nicole Grether and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN

District reassigns principal of Virginia school where boy, 6, allegedly shot teacher, spokesperson says

The principal of Richneck Elementary School in Virginia has been reassigned within Newport News Public Schools.
10 hours ago
A cold snap brings sub-freezing temps to northern Utah. (KSL-TV)...
Randall Jepson

Frigid temperatures delaying some school start times

A frigid cold snap is causing in some schools in northern Utah to delay their start times. Utah State will also have a delayed start.
10 hours ago
Authorities in Grants Pass, Oregon are advising women to be on the lookout for a fugitive accused o...
Andy Rose and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Man suspected of kidnapping and beating a woman in Oregon may be using dating apps to evade police

Originally Published: 29 JAN 23 12:31 ET Updated: 29 JAN 23 21:20 ET     (CNN) — Authorities in southwestern Oregon are warning that a man suspected of kidnapping a woman and beating her unconscious may now be using dating apps to evade capture or find potential new victims, according to police. The suspect, 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
House passes Equality Act aimed at ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity