U.S. House passes Equality Act, prohibiting discrimination against LBGTQ individuals
By Keya Vakil
May 17, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a wide-ranging bill on Friday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Equality Act, which passed 236-173, amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so that it bars discrimination of LGBTQ people with regards to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations.  

228 Democrats voted for the bill, but were joined by only eight Republicans, while 173 Republicans voted against it. Seven Democrats did not vote.

The vote comes as the Trump administration has systematically targeted LGBTQ rights; his administration’s efforts include banning transgender individuals from serving in the military and freezing or revoking Obama-era regulations that aimed to improve health outcomes for LBGTQ individuals.

The bill also comes only a few short months after Virginia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly killed bills that explicitly banned housing and employment discrimination against LGBTQ Virginians.

All four members of Virginia’s Republican congressional delegation voted against the bill, joining their counterparts in the General Assembly who voted against protections for LGBTQ individuals.

Virginia’s Democratic delegation, however, all voted for the bill. Following the roll call, Rep. Jenifer Wexton (D-VA) said that “Today’s historic vote proves that progress is still possible … The passage of the Equality Act sends a clear message that all Americans — no matter who you love or how you identify — deserve fair and equal treatment under the law. Today, we come one step closer to fulfilling that fundamental promise that all Americans are created equal.”

LGBTQ advocates immediately praised the passage of the bill.

The Equality Act now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to be rejected by the Republican majority.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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