May 17, 2019

House passes sweeping bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Democratic-controlled House passed the Equality Act on Friday, a bill that would protect LGBTQ people from being fired, denied housing or harassed for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Why it matters: The bill is presumed dead on arrival as it moves through to the Republican-controlled Senate. Still, supporters are rejoicing as this marks the first time the legislation has received a full vote — 236-173 — from either chamber of Congress, signifying the progress LGBTQ rights have seen over the years. Eight Republicans broke ranks, joining Democrats in voting for the measure.

The backdrop: The bill, originally introduced in 2015, would amend a law dating back to 1964 permitting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While there are already federal laws protecting people from discrimination based on race, religion, sex and disability, there are no such federal laws explicitly protecting the LGBTQ population. Some Republicans argue the legislation violates religious freedom and nullifies women's rights.

Go deeper: Trump administration to allow faith-based discrimination in medicine

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The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."