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 NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' 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 makes it easier to get mail-in ballots after delaying primary Kennedy said DSCC prevented him from helping Democrats flip GOP seats Pelosi stands firm amid calls to close Capitol 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 CicillineLocal news outlets struggle to survive coronavirus fallout The Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' 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 HartzlerGOP lawmakers express concerns about Giuliani's work in Ukraine House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban The House-passed bills that have ended up in the Senate 'graveyard' 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 BrooksThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 Hispanic Democrats endorse Latina for open Indiana seat Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (Ind.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartBottom Line House chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection Capitol officials extend suspension of tourist access until May MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' This week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill House approves pro-union labor bill MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGarth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Texas kicks off critical battle for House control Gun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoTo fight the rising tide of hate in our country, we must stop bias-based bullying in the classroom Hillicon Valley: House passes key surveillance bill | Paul, Lee urge Trump to kill FISA deal | White House seeks help from tech in coronavirus fight | Dem urges Pence to counter virus misinformation Lawmakers criticize Trump's slashed budget for key federal cyber agency MORE (N.Y.), Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Overnight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Hispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements MORE (N.Y.) and Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns 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 McConnellPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) will bring the measurer up for a vote.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report 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.”