House Democrats pass the Equality Act, which would provide safeguards for LGBTQ people

National Politics
Nancy Pelosi

In this Feb. 11, 2021, photo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House is passed a bill Thursday that enshrines protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws for LGBTQ people.

The bill passed by a 224-206 margin. All 221 Democrats voted in favor of the bill while all but three Republicans voted in opposition.

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

“Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all,” wrote Biden in a statement when the act was introduced last week.

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

Supporters say the law would ensure that every person is treated equally under the law. But some religious groups and social conservatives worry that the bill would force people to take actions that contradict their religious beliefs.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the nation’s leading corporations have endorsed the measure.

The bill now moves to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.

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