House passes Equality Act Bill, paving way for LGBTQ+ individual’s federal rights


Landmark legislation passed in the House of Representatives on Feb. 25 on a party-line vote of 224 to 206. The bill “H.R.5 – Equality Act” prohibits sex discrimination in employment, healthcare, housing, education, credit, and jury service while also prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. 

LGBTQ+ individuals have faced discriminatory acts for many years. However, no federal protective legislation has successfully survived the legislative process of becoming a law. State legislatures have taken it into their own hands to pass protective legislation; however, the number of States with these protections is limited. Research from the Human Rights Campaign, an organization supporting pro-fairness congressional candidates states that only 22 U.S. States and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

If this bill were to reach the president’s desk, it would revolutionize the idea of LGBTQ+ protections. H.R.5 – Equality Act amends the community into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, granting federal protection. For the bill to be passed and avoid a filibuster, it needs the support of 10 senate republicans (60 senators in total). With the senate party demographic only 50/50, many have doubted the Equality Act would survive. This Legislation has been introduced four times to Congress and died in commission each time making it likely it will fail a fifth time; however, some Parkdale students have faith that the bill might survive. Parkdale sophomore Apollo identifies as a transgender male. Upon hearing about the bill, they have been optimistic. “Honestly I believe it could go either way,” He said. “You’re never really sure until it happens. You cannot base it off political parties as each person has different individual views.” 

Many students will feel the impact of this bill. While Apollo is lucky enough to not have experienced any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Many teens throughout the country have experienced harmful treatment if they don’t conceal their identity. The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) organization, an independent, non-profit organization provided statistics stating “42 percent of LGBTQ population lives in States that have no law protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination (25 States)”.  

With the struggle this bill has faced to become a law, many people feel as if the lives of LGBTQ+ have become political. “It makes me quite upset that my identity and the identity of others like me is debated by people who don’t understand what it’s like to be us,” stated sophomore Apollo. “They try to choose what we can and can’t do as if we’re not human beings and it’s honestly sickening that this is something that is a political issue.” The sporadic nature of this bill shows how tough the next 4 years may be for the Biden administration to pass more progressive legislation.