A Republican-backed motion to block the Equality Act, which would provide civil rights protections to gay and transgender people, failed on Friday as the House of Representatives voted to approve the bill, 236 to 173.
The bill had the support of every Democrat in the House, along with eight Republicans. If it also passes in the Senate, President Trump is expected to veto the measure when it reaches his desk.
The new anti-discrimination legislation would ensure that LGBTQ individuals cannot be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, bringing everyone “closer to equal liberty and justice for all,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a champion of the bill.
Republicans have pushed against the sweeping piece of legislation, known as HR 5, saying it endangers freedom of religion by requiring every citizen to accept the changing definitions of sexual identity in society.
Another concern is that the bill will impede the civil liberties of women and girls.
Republicans also introduced a motion to recommit on the House floor Friday, calling on lawmakers to deny transgenders the right to take part in single-gender sports activities to avoid biological disadvantages between men and women. Republicans are concerned Title IX, a law that ensures federally-funded education programs do not segregate on the basis of sex, could be endangered by the new legislation.
“Democrats are attempting to erase the decades of progress women have achieved in athletics programs,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Friday. “Protecting Title IX shouldn’t be partisan. Democrats denied girls and women their own space in sports and demonstrated another way they want to politicize every aspect of Americans’ lives.”
“Essentially, the reason Title IX was even created was to give girls and women a separate space to compete, but HR 5 allows men and boys to compete on women’s sports teams, use their locker rooms, etc.” McCarthy’s office said in a statement.
According to a Rasmussen poll from April, only 23 percent of voters “believe a person born as a male but identifying as a female should be allowed to compete in women’s competitive sports events.”
GOP lawmakers insist that the Equality Act would be the “end to women’s only sports.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted his concerns about biological men competing in women’s sports and posted a link to Law Professor explaining how the Equality Act would crush religious dissenters.
During today’s debate, I watched in bewilderment as House Democrats defended the right of biological men to compete in women’s sports.
They said it was “fear mongering” to be opposed to such a thing.
This is crazy. Even Women’s Rights groups opposed the #EqualityAct…
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) May 18, 2019
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