Equality Act: US House passes legislation protecting LGBT rights

The US House of Representatives has passed sweeping legislation that prohibits LGBT discrimination, but it faces an unlikely future in the Senate.The Equality Act was previously passed by the Democratic-led House in 2019, but was killed by Senate Republicans.The debate has laid bare the ideological battle between liberals who support the act and conservatives who say it infringes on religious freedom.The act expands on a 2020 Supreme Court ruling protecting some LGBT rights.

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What does the act do?The Equality Act expands on the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.But what does that actually mean?The act provides non-discrimination protections for LGBT peopleIt would extend into all areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, jury service, and public servicesIt makes existing state protections federal and consistent across the nationThe act would also federally codify into law the 2020 June Supreme Court ruling that said employers who fire workers for being gay or transgender are violating civil rights law.

Advocates for the act have argued that the current “patchwork” of state anti-discrimination laws does not provide enough comprehensive protection, and leaves many LGBT individuals at risk.

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