House

Here are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act

Three Republicans opted to buck party lines and join Democrats in voting for the Equality Act on Thursday.

The sweeping civil rights bill passed the House in a 224-206 vote, with every Democrat supporting the measure.

While eight GOP lawmakers voted for a similar version of the legislation in 2019, Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) were the only Republicans to vote in favor of the bill a second time.

Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) voted for the 2019 version, but did not join Democrats in Thursday’s vote.

GOP Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Will Hurd (Texas) and Greg Walden (Ore.), who also voted for the previous legislation, retired at the end of the last Congress.

The Equality Act aims to extend protections for education, housing and employment for the LGBT community. The bill looks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Services Act, by expanding protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

While GOP critics argued the bill could infringe on religious liberties, Reed said he’s confident it will provide protections while keeping in line with Americans’ constitutional rights.

“We stand firmly against discrimination in any form. Throughout my tenure in Congress, we have fought to ensure all are treated fairly before the law, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation,” he said in a statement.

“We have been assured by the author of the bill that the fundamental rights of the American people, such as religious freedoms, have been protected in the legislation as written. We will continue to support these efforts to ensure unlawful persecution or discrimination is prevented.”

Katko said he feels that a “uniform federal standard” is a positive step in ensuring equal rights for all Americans.

“Today, I once again supported passage of the Equality Act, a bill that creates a uniform federal standard for preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In New York, this bill is already established law,” he said in a statement.

“But in states across the country, differing standards have made it difficult for employers to conform to conflicting laws,” he added. “The Equality Act has received strong support from the business and manufacturing community. This bill will ensure equal opportunity in the workplace.”

The legislation is expected to struggle to pass the Senate, where GOP support is needed to reach 60 “yes” votes. 

Diaz-Balart defended his decision not to vote for the legislation, telling The Hill in a statement that it had “severe flaws.”

“House Democratic Leadership had ample time to make these changes, but sadly, they ignored multiple good faith efforts by my colleagues and instead doubled down on some of the most troubling issues, including sabotaging religious freedom,” he said. “Despite its name and promise to eliminate discrimination, what the bill actually does is discriminate against mosques, churches, and religious organizations for their deeply held religious beliefs.”

He also pledged to introduce alternative legislation in the “Fairness for All Act.” 

The Hill has reached out to Fitzpatrick and Stefanik for comment.

-Updated 8:18 p.m.

Tags Brian Fitzpatrick Elise Stefanik Equality Act Greg Walden John Katko LGBT law in the United States Mario Diaz-Balart Susan Brooks Tom Reed Will Hurd
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