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What is the Equality Act?

By: Eris Lowdermilk

A couple of weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act. The bill would ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity. It would also apply to the areas where discrimination protections apply.

Current U.S. President Biden stated this bill was one of the prioritized bills he hopes to pass within the first 100 days of his presidency. Biden encourages the Senate to pass it.

The Equality Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act in terms of no discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Though this bill has been introduced in the past, there are some differences for the version in 2021.

The bill expands past employment and housing, but also to federally funded programs, public accommodations, such as retail and transportation providers.

The main difference is that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993, does not apply here. This means the act could not be used to defend the Equality Act. For example, in the past where a bakery denied the making of a cake for a same-sex wedding could not occur under the Equality Act.

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