Equality Act Advances to Full House Vote, No Thanks to Republicans

Every Republican in the House Judiciary Committee voted against the bill.

The LGBTQ-inclusive Equality Act will be voted on by the entire United States House of Representatives for the first time in history—no thanks to House Republicans, unsurprisingly.

On Wednesday, May 1, the bill passed through the House Judiciary Committee, advancing it to a vote before the full House. If passed, the Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans on a federal level. It's been put forward in the past, although conservative members of Congress have stopped the legislation in its tracks each time.

This time around, it was reintroduced in March with great fanfare.

The Judiciary Committee adhered strictly to party lines: Yesterday's final vote was 22-10, Democrats to Republicans. House Republicans even tried an underhanded strategy to delay the committee vote. Apparently, one congressional clerk was asked to read the Equality Act in full—all 27 pages of it—aloud to the House. For the record. Twice.

On the House floor, openly gay Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline (D) championed the bill, asserting that "fairness" and "equality" are "core American values."

"This bill affirms those values and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind," he added.

According to the Washington Blade, LGBTQ advocates in D.C. and beyond have encouraged House reps to vote in favor of the bill.

However, activists worry the Equality Act will meet its demise in the Senate, which is currently controlled by the GOP.