Biden urges swift passage of Equality Act
President Biden called on Congress Friday to quickly pass the Equality Act, legislation that would significantly expand LGBTQ protections.
The bill, re-introduced on Thursday by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to include LGBTQ Americans, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, education, employment and in other areas.
“Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all,” Biden said in a statement on Friday.
The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.
It passed the House in May 2019 but wasn’t taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate last Congress. It is expected to pass the House again soon but could face an uphill battle with the tight 50-50 partisan divide in the Senate.
“The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law,” the president wrote.
Biden’s push toward expanding LGBTQ rights comes a day after unveiling his sweeping immigration plan, which also faces an uphill battle with the tight margins in Congress.