Equality Act Passed in US House to Provide LGBTQ Protections

Talon Smith, Editor-in-Chief

Passed in the House on Thursday 25, the Equality Act is to provide landmark protections against discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. One of the pieces of legislation President Joe Biden pledged to sign and, according to his campaign website, make, “a top legislative priority,” during his first 100 days in office.

The Equality Act is a sweeping piece of LGBTQ rights legislation that has been in discussion since, according to the Washington Post, the Stonewall riots in 1969. It creates explicit anti-discrimination protections by amending current civil rights laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act, to ban LGBTQ discrimination across areas of life, including employment, housing, education, credit, federally funded programs, and jury service.

This would if passed, create the most comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people in all of US history. Which has, predominantly, been left up to individual states in the past.

“Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long,” Biden said in a statement on the introduction of the bill. “The Equality Act provides long-overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity[.]”

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2019, where it passed through the House but has not yet been voted on by the then Republican-controlled Senate. Now, with a Democrat-controlled Senate and Biden in office, the bill has another chance.

This comes during an opportune time in US history. A number of bills attacking the transgender community, according to NBC News, have been seen across the country, in at least 20 states. These include several bans on transgender athletes participating in the sports of their gender identity, seen in states like Mississippi and Idaho.

It also comes after the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the US. In fact, hate violence against members of the transgender community has been on the rise since the election of former President Donald Trump in 2016, who consistently made attacks against the transgender community.