U.S. House passes Equality Act

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted to pass the Equality Act.

The vote was largely along party lines with a couple of Republicans crossing the aisle to vote for it.

With Illinois’ delegation, it was also largely by party.

Voting for it were Cheri Bustos (D-Moline), Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), Bill Foster (D-Naperville), Chuy Garcia (D-Chicago), Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), Marie Newman (D-La Grange), Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield), and Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville). Voting against it were most of the GOP representatives: Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), Mary Miller (R-Oakland) and Darin LaHood (R-Peoria).

Danny Davis (D-Chicago), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Schaumburg) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Evaston) didn’t vote at all.

Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) also didn’t vote. Kinzinger has gotten national attention for his vote for Trump’s impeachment and the blowback afterwards. He’s also spoken out against fellow Republicans, such as Marjorie Taylor-Greene after she attacked Newman’s transgender daughter in a tweet. Kinzinger had voted against the Equality Act the last time it came up for a vote.

“We must reject discrimination of all kinds and the Equality Act is a critical step forward in doing just that,” said Bustos, the only Democrat representative outside of the Chicago area. “To be removed from your home or fired from your job simply because of who you are or who you love, is flat out wrong. I’m proud to support the Equality Act because every American and Illinoisan deserves fairness under the law and is entitled to the same set of civil rights protections – regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.” Bustos was also a co-sponsor.

Quigley said he was proud to vote for the act and called out Republicans for their opposition.

“This week, Congressional Republicans exposed the truth about their opposition to the Equality Act,” he said. “It’s not about protecting women or defending freedom of religion. It’s the same tired, bigoted homophobia and transphobia that Americans grew tired of long ago.”

Though hew didn’t vote, Krishnamoorthi was a co-sponsor for the bill and welcomed the passage.

“I’m proud to have cosponsored the Equality Act and to have fought for its successful House passage as we’ve taken this crucial step to protect the dignity and civil rights of LGBTQ+ Americans,” he said in a statement. “Despite how far we have come as a country over the last few decades, in 29 states, LGBTQ+ people can still be discriminated against because of who they are and whom they love.”

There is some caution with the successful vote.

“Today’s vote in the House of Representatives to pass the Equality Act is a repeat of two years ago when the legislation passed, only to subsequently die at the hands of Sen Mitch McConnell who presided over the Senate with an iron fist,” said Dave Bentlin with the Prairie Pride Coalition in Bloomington. “This time is different, with a decidedly friendlier, Democratic-controlled Senate. While passage in the Senate is uncertain, there is a general feeling that we stand a better chance of victory than we did in 2019.”

“We hope and trust this year, it will finally get the hearing in the Senate that it so richly deserves,” said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings. “After years of ignoring this important legislation, the Senate needs to take care of business and pass the Equality Act.”

“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Equality Act is the result of decades of hard-fought activism by women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community – particularly transgender individuals of color – to ensure that no American faces discrimination based on their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. “The historic vote today also builds upon the legacy of the activists who helped pass the original Civil Rights Act in 1964.”

Bost, Davis and LaHood said nothing about the Equality Act, even after requests for comment. Miller, though her office didn’t return a request for comment, did have something to say.

“The Inequality Act is the progressive fringe of the country trying to push their radical beliefs about marriage and gender on the rest of us,” Miller said in a Facebook post. “This bill is a direct attack on women’s rights, female competitive sports, and religious freedom.”

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