The United States Congress has passed a historic bill that amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for the LGBTQ+ community. The bill, known as the Equality Act, was passed by the House of Representatives in February and by the Senate in March, with bipartisan support.
The Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in a wide range of areas, including employment, housing, education, and public accommodations. The bill also expands protections for women and people of color under the Civil Rights Act.
“This is a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community and for the United States as a whole,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “For too long, our community has been denied basic protections under the law, and this bill will help to rectify that injustice.”
What does this step mean? Civil Rights Act
The passage of the Equality Act marks a significant milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Despite gains in recent years, members of the community still face discrimination and harassment in many areas of their lives. The new law will provide them with legal recourse to challenge such discrimination.
“The Equality Act is a crucial step towards ensuring that all Americans are treated equally under the law, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Representative David Cicilline, who introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. “No one should face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love.”
The bill has been hailed by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and civil rights organizations, who have been pushing for its passage for years. It is also supported by a wide range of businesses and corporations, including Apple, Amazon, and Coca-Cola.
“The passage of the Equality Act is a victory for human rights and equality,” said John Roberts, chief justice of the Supreme Court. “It is a testament to the power of advocacy and the tireless work of activists and advocates who have fought for this moment for decades.”
How will the bill bypass criticism?
However, the bill still faces opposition from some religious groups and conservative politicians, who argue that it infringes on their religious freedom. Some Republicans have also raised concerns about the bill’s potential impact on women’s sports and women’s shelters.
Despite these objections, supporters of the bill remain optimistic about its chances of becoming law. President Joe Biden has expressed his support for the bill, and is expected to sign it into law in the coming weeks.
“The Equality Act is a critical step forward for LGBTQ+ rights, and for our country as a whole,” said Biden in a statement. “I look forward to signing it into law and to continuing our work to ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity and respect.”