Democrats in the House hae approved a sweeping ant-discrimination bill thatwould extend civil rightsprotections to LGBT peopl by prohibiting discrimintion based on sexual orietation or gender identity The measure passed a vot of 236 yeas to 173 nays ith eight Republicans joiing Democrats in support f the bill.
Called the Equality Act, he legislation updates exsting federal nondiscrimiation laws, including theCivil Rights Act of 1964 nd the Fair Housing Act, o confirm that discriminaion based on sexual orienation or gender identity s unlawful discriminationbased on sex.
It would exend protections to employent, housing, loan applictions, education, public ccommodations and other aeas.
The bill is a top priorit of House Speaker Nancy Plosi, who said it will brng the nation "closer to qual liberty and justice or all.
" Co-sponsor of th bill, Rep.
Ciciline, D-Rhode Island, sai the "LGBT community has aited nearly 250 years" fr such legislation to pas.
"Equal treatment under th law and a commitment to airness and equality are ounding values of our coutry.
Discrimination of an kind is wrong and no oneshould ever be treated asless than equal because o who they are or who theylove," said Cicilline, who called on enate Majority Leader Mith McConnell to bring the ill to the floor as soon s possible.
Many of the 2020 Democratc contenders also came ou in support of the legisltion including Sens.
Elizbeth Warren and Kamala Haris as well as Julian Casro, Beto O'Rourke and Pet Buttigieg.
The candidate all implored their Repubican colleagues to seriouly consider the legislatin.
The measure has the suppot of a variety of LGBT adocacy groups, including Te Trevor Project, the word's largest suicide prevetion organization for LGBQ youth, who called the mve a "monumental step" fo equal rights protections as well as of one the contry's largest labor unios, the United Food and Comercial Workers Internatinal Union (UFCW).
"Today's passage of the Euality Act by the House i a powerful step toward afuture where millions of GBTQ Americans and their amilies no longer have toworry about facing discriination at work or in ther communities.
Too many Aericans live in states wih outdated laws that leav our LGBTQ neighbors, frinds, and family vulnerabl to discrimination," UFCWChair Michele Kessler sai in a statement.
"We are proud to stand wih Americans across the contry in support of the Eqality Act and urge the Seate to do the right thingand pass this bill immeditely.
" But most Republicans vote against the bill on Fridy, calling it another exaple of government overreah.
Many spoke out during he debate.
Republican Congressman Ros Spano of Florida went s far as to quote Coretta cott King, the wife of Ciil Rights champion MartinLuther King Jr.
, in his foor speech opposing the bll.
"Coretta Scott King wisel said, 'Freedom is never eally won.
We earn it andwin it in every new genertion,'" Spano said Friday "H.
5 is bad for freedm.
You see, it would immeiately expose churches, rligious schools and univesities and faith-based oranizations to legal liabiity for simply following heir earnest beliefs.
" A similar bill in the Sente faces long odds in theRepublican-controlled chaber, something Lamda Lega, a legal advocacy group hat works to protect the ights of the LGBT communiy, knows fully well.
"We know the Equality Actfaces an uphill battle inthe U.
LGBT Americans contiue to face appalling, unjst discrimination in manyaspects of their everydaylives.
We know this from he thousands of calls Lamda Legal's Help Desk getseach year from all corner of our country.
Specificlly, we know that workplae discrimination is one o the most frequent probles that LGBT people face.
orkplace equality has bee a top priority for Lambd Legal since our foundingnearly 50 years ago, and emains one today," said Lmbda Legal Interim CEO Rihard Burns.
"We call on the Senate togive the Equality Act thefull, fair and comprehensve consideration it deseres," Burns added.
President Donald Trump, wo reportedly opposes the ill, is widely expected t veto the legislation if t ever reaches his desk.
Emily Tillett and RebeccaKaplan contributed to thi report.