US Rep to pass bill to protect LGBTQ people

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The United States Democratic-led House is resilient to pass a bill that would protect the LGBTQ in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws.

This is a top priority of President Joe Biden, though the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

The Equality Act amends existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.

The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.

Supporters say the law before the House on Thursday is long overdue and would ensure that every person is treated equally under the law.

“In the absence of federal civil rights protection, there are members of the LGBTQ community who are fair game in the eyes of the law to be targeted, based on sexual orientation,” said House Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. “That is not America.”

The House passed the Equality Act in the last Congress with unanimous Democratic support and the backing of eight Republicans, but Donald Trump’s White House opposed the measure and it was not considered in the Senate, where 60 votes will be needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

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Democrats are trying to revive it now that they have control of Congress and the White House, but passage appears unlikely in the evenly divided Senate.

The Supreme Court provided the LGBTQ community with a resounding victory last year in a 6-3 ruling that said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied to LGBTQ workers when it comes to barring discrimination on the basis of sex.

Civil rights groups have encouraged Congress to follow up that decision and ensure that anti-bias protections addressing such areas as housing, public accommodations and public services are applied in all 50 states.

Biden made clear his support for the Equality Act in the lead-up to last year’s election, saying it would be one of his first priorities.