Posted by 01 March 2021
Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill that expands federal discrimination protections to individuals based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity.
By a vote of 224-206, the House passed HR 5, dubbed the EQUALITY Act. Here is how VoteSpotter describes HR 5:
To enact a new federal law that would prohibit discrimination in public accommodations, employment and public education based on an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would also prohibit a business, school, or other location from denying access to a bathroom, locker room, dressing room, or other facility based on an individual's gender identity.
Supporters of this bill say it is necessary to have a federal ban on this type of discrimination. They argue that gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals are being denied basic rights and should be protected by law. Opponents contend that this will infringe upon the religious beliefs of those who think that homosexuality and being transgender are sinful. They contend this is federal overreach.
Currently, some states have laws banning discrimination based on someone's gender identity. These laws can include a requirement that individuals can use the bathrooms or dressing rooms of their gender identity not their biological sex. The Supreme Court also ruled in 2020 that the Constitution forbids anti-gay discrimination.
It remains unclear if the Senate will consider this legislation. With Democrats having control only through Vice President Harris presiding over the chamber, many controversial bills like this face an uphill battle there. It is unlikely that if considered it could garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.
Do you support a federal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity?