House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act

The House on Friday for the first time approved legislation banning anti-LGBT discrimination in a 236-173 vote.

Every Democrat voted for the measure, as did eight Republicans.

The Equality Act would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination in employment, housing, jury selection and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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“This legislation will provide members of LGBTQ Americans protections from being denying medical care or being fired or thrown out of their homes,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWant the truth? Put your money on Bill Barr, not Jerry Nadler From abortion to obstruction, politicians' hypocrisy is showing Watergate figure John Dean earns laughter for responses to GOP lawmakers MORE (D-N.Y.) said on the floor ahead of the vote.

He said the bill would expand the definition of “who is understood to be included in the Declaration of Independence.”

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisGeorgia commissioner seeking M in damages after being punished for calling John Lewis a 'racist pig' Georgia commissioner seeking M in damages after being punished for calling John Lewis a 'racist pig' First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides MORE (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 CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineCracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale MORE (D-R.I.), was expected to be approved but faced opposition from conservatives, who said it would infringe upon people’s religious liberties.

Opponents argued the bill “is anything but equalizing,” in the words of Rep. Vicky HartzlerVicky Jo HartzlerDem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes Dem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (R-Mo.).

“In fact, this bill legalizes discrimination — government imposed top-down discrimination against those with time-honored views of marriage and gender,” she said in remarks on the floor ahead of the vote.

GOP Reps. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksDCCC chair: Brooks retirement signals challenge for GOP women DCCC chair: Brooks retirement signals challenge for GOP women Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection MORE (Ind.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban Lawmakers push to permanently ban automatic pay raises for members of Congress MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda MORE (N.Y.), Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban GOP leader, Ocasio-Cortez give boost to lawmaker pay hike MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE (N.Y.) and Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Maine shakes up debate with tough internet privacy law MORE (Ore.) all opted to vote with Democrats. 

More than 200 businesses, including Facebook, Google, Hilton and JPMorgan Chase, backed the measure. Groups opposing it included the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council.

The Heritage Foundation alleged the bill would “force employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms,” “force hospitals and insurers to provide and pay for these therapies against any moral or medical objections” and “lead to the erasure of women.”

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) will bring the measurer up for a vote.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE is also unlikely to sign the bill should it make it through both chambers.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all," a senior administration official told NBC News. "However, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”