It's official: The LGBTQ Equality Act has successfully passed the United States House of Representatives.
House lawmakers voted 224 to 206 in favor of the landmark piece of legislation earlier today (Thursday, February 25), with three Republicans crossing party lines and voting yes.
If signed into law, the Equality Act would amend existing civil-rights law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. This would establish federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans in areas like employment, housing, public education, and more. It already has the backing of President Joe Biden, who posted a tweet earlier this week urging Congress to "swiftly pass this historic legislation."
Despite its widespread support among activists, politicians, and the majority of Americans, the Equality Act now faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it is expected to be challenged by Republicans. It's not the first time this has happened, either. In May 2019, the House also passed a nearly identical bill, only for it to languish in a Republican-dominated, anti-LGBTQ Senate under the previous administration.
In a statement, Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, called today's vote "a defining moment in our nation’s political history."
"Soon U.S. senators will decide their legacy on equality for LGBTQ people," Parker added. "History is not kind to those who oppose or filibuster civil rights legislation and excuses won’t pass muster with future generations. An overwhelming number of Americans support the Equality Act — including a majority of Republicans — and today the U.S. House voted for the will of the people. It is imperative senators be given that same opportunity to vote and understand that history books will remember their decision."
Main image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (L) at a press conference before the bill's passage.