Three House Republicans crossed party lines and voted with Democrats for the passage of the “Equality Act,” on Thursday afternoon. Representatives John Katko (NY-24), Tom Reed (NY-23), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) all voted “yea” and sided with Democrats in passing the legislation, which was pushed heavily by President Biden during his campaign.
The passage was a major victory for President Biden, who made it one of his main promises on the trail. Several groups including religious institutions and 206 House Republicans opposed the bill, saying it discriminated against religious institutions and allowed for transgendered men to compete in women’s sports at the high school and collegiate levels.
The debate got heated in the House on Thursday, with Republicans and Democrats shouting back and forth at each other from the House floor.
Democrat Al Green of Texas implied that the same people used God to keep him off the busses in the South during the Civil rights era, along with keeping him out of the schools.
“You used God to segregate me in schools. You used God to keep me in the back of the bus,” Green said angrily from the House floor Thursday.
206 Republicans including the House Freedom Caucus voted against the bill, along with Marjorie Greene who put a “there are two genders,” sign outside of her office which sparked a rebuke from Nancy Pelosi at her press conference.
Democrats say their bill will expand civil and equal rights in a much-needed update. The bill enshrines into law, that gender identification and race into law as protected characteristics.
Religious institutions fear that it will force them to go against their beliefs or risk being penalized by the Federal Government.
- Democrats passed a similar bill under the Trump administration, but the bill died in the Senate.
- The US Catholic Bishops voiced their opposition last week in a letter expressing their concerns.
“The so-called “Equality Act” is not about stopping discrimination. It’s about causing discrimination against women and religious freedom. I move to adjourn for the day to give the 117th Congress more time to think about this immoral Bill,” Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted Thursday.
The bill now moves to a Senate where its fate is uncertain at best.