House Passes “Equality Act” to Expand LGBTQ Protections

The House of Representatives voted 236 to 173 to approve the “Equality Act” to expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals by banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, education, employment, and other areas. NLIHC strongly supports the bill, which now heads to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated he will not put the bill on the floor for a vote, and President Trump has expressed opposition to it as well, making passage of the bill this year unlikely.

The legislation was introduced by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in the House and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate, along with 238 original House cosponsors and 45 original Senate cosponsors.

Many states do not have explicit state-wide LGBTQ non-discrimination protection laws. Approximately 50% of LGBTQ Americans live in those 30 states, leaving LGBTQ individuals at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are or whom they love.