House Passes Sweeping Legislation That Would Prohibit Anti-LGBT Discrimination
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a sweeping bill that would ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, the New York Times reports.
The bill passed in a 236-173 vote and comes as the Trump administration has struck down policies benefiting LGBT individuals, including barring transgender individuals from military service and formally dismissing complaints from transgender students who are prevented from using restrooms that match their identity.
“The question before us is not whether the L.G.B.T.Q. community faces outrageous and immoral discrimination, for the record shows that it clearly does,” said New York Representative and Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler. “The question is whether we, as Congress, are willing to take action to do something about it. The answer goes straight to the heart of who we want to be as a country — and today, that answer must be a resounding ‘yes.’”
The equality act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by prohibiting private and public entities from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. It extends civil rights services in hospitals, businesses, and welfare providers and explicitly prevents people from being denied access to a dressing room or locker room on the basis of gender or sexuality.
However, it is unlikely that the Equality Act will make it through the Republican-held Senate and White House. The administration’s stance is that the act infringes upon “the safety of women and girls in intimate spaces” and “conscience protections” that allow medical professionals to abstain from performing operations that they do not agree with morally.