WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House is passed a bill Thursday that enshrines protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws for LGBTQ people.
The bill passed by a 224-206 margin. All 221 Democrats voted in favor of the bill while all but three Republicans voted in opposition.
The legislation is a top priority of President Joe Biden, though the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
“Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all,” wrote Biden in a statement when the act was introduced last week.
The Equality Act amends existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.
Supporters say the law would ensure that every person is treated equally under the law. But some religious groups and social conservatives worry that the bill would force people to take actions that contradict their religious beliefs.
Speaking on the House floor on Wednesday, San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs highlighted her personal connection to LGBTQ+ equality bill.
“As the proud sister to a trans brother and a gender non-conforming sibling, and the proud representative of Hillcrest, the heart of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community, I was honored to vote for the Equality Act. This historic legislation will be life-changing for so many of my constituents and for LGBTQ+ people across the country. No one should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love," wrote Jacobs in a statement sent to ABC 10News.
“Today, I am a proud and grateful sister and representative. Our work is not done and I’m committed to continuing the efforts to make sure our schools, workplaces, and communities are welcoming and inclusive to all people,” said Jacobs.
Meanwhile, hundreds of the nation's leading corporations have endorsed the measure.
The bill now moves to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.