Feb 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden urges Congress to pass Equality Act to expand LGBTQ+ protections

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Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday urged Congress to pass the newly reintroduced Equality Act, which would expand federal protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

What he's saying: "Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society," Biden wrote in a statement.

  • "The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law."

The big picture: The bill, if passed, would expand laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to explicitly include protections for LBGTQ+ people. The measure has been introduced in Congress before but faced roadblocks from former Republican majorities.

  • The bill is widely expected to pass the House, where Democrats hold the necessary simple majority.
  • But the bill would need support from 10 Republicans in the Senate. Conservatives frequently argue the bill violates religious liberties.
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