WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way (PFAW) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which recognizes that every American deserves full and equal rights under the law, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill passed the House today by a vote of 236 to 173.
“We applaud U.S. Rep. Cicilline and H.R. 5’s cosponsors for their leadership on this crucial piece of legislation that strengthens civil rights protections for every person in the U.S.,” PFAW President Michael Keegan said. “Everyone deserves full and equal rights under the law, and the Equality Act is an important step in that direction.”
The bill adds affirmative protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to federal laws including the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Service Act. It also updates federal public accommodations law to include protections against sex discrimination and covers more public services. H.R. 5 also plainly states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not provide an exemption from federal civil rights laws.
As spelled out in PFAW’s May 14 letter to members of Congress, the organization “strongly agrees with the courts that have held that existing federal sex discrimination laws already protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, but we also know that the Equality Act is necessary to affirm those protections and ensure that they apply consistently nationwide.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must now bring H.R. 5 to a vote in his chamber before it can be sent to the president for his signature.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.