Although primarily described as an LGBTQ bill to eliminate discrimation based on sexual orientation, identity, or gender identity, the Equality Act is a step in the right direction for other minorities as well — all of whom have experienced an increased rate of violent crime under the Trump Administration. The Equality Act passed in the House of Representatives 224-206 with unanimous Democrat support and three Republicans voting for the bill as well.
Per usual, the majority of Republicans who voted against the bill based their opinions on so-called religious freedom. But Republicans have a difficult time making that story convincing, especially after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) showed her disdain for Representative Marie Newman’s (D-Illinois) transgender daughter, or former Representative Denver Riggleman’s (R-Virginia) censure at the state level for officiating a same-sex marriage — something which cost him a primary race.
That’s not to say that all Republicans are distorting or misarticulating their opinions, but religious freedom has never been a strong foundation for arguments condoning discrimination against LGBTQ community members. This is especially true when other minorities get “splashed” by the obvious hatred still pervasive among constituents of the Republican party.
The bill still has a long way to go if it is to pass in the Senate, where most Republicans — including classy moderate Mitt Romney — and even some moderate Democrats have said they have issues with how the bill is written. That doesn’t mean the bill won’t pass, but if it does it could look very different.
Representative David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) said, “When you tell people that in a majority of states in this country, you can either be kicked out of your apartment, fired from your job, or denied service in a restaurant because you’re gay or in the LGBTQ community, people think that can’t be true.”
The Supreme Court once ruled that a baker did not have to bake a cake to be used in a same-sex marriage on the grounds of religious freedom — but can you even imagine the horrific outcry if businesses started to deny service to Christians based on the lame reasoning presented?
President Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said, “It is time to move together to ensure LGBTQ peopel have the chance to belong, to participate and to succeed in all areas of American life.”
Even if Democrats can whip together enough votes to achieve a narrow majority in the Senate, the likelihood of beating a ten-vote Republican filibuster would be tough — and there would likely be a filibuster.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposes the Equality Act because of how it would affect women’s sports. According to he and a handful of Senate Republicans, the language inside the bill does not differentiate between places of worship and places of accommodation, nor does it take into consideration what would happen to the country’s female sports if gender lines were blurred by equality. Great reasoning — but isn’t it always? Expect another brutal fight in the 2022 midterm elections, and then again in the 2024 presidential race.