Joe Biden photographer in January 2020
(Photo: Shutterstock)

President Joe Biden has posted several tweets during June to mark Pride Month. He’s not letting up as it draws to a close. Yesterday evening he posted again, saying, “Love is love. No one should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love. Congress must pass and send me the Equality Act. It’s time we codified protections for the LGBTQI+ community.”

At the time of writing, the tweet had over 33k likes and prompted 14k comments. Some thanked him for his show of support, although—predictably—many others expressed horror or simply trolled the President.

The Equality Act has been introduced, and failed to pass, on several occasions previously. According to HRC, the legislation would, “provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.”

What’s happening with the Equality Act at the moment?

The Equality Act was reintroduced in the 118th Congress on June 21, 2023, in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and in the Senate by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

At a news conference last week, to tie in with the Act’s reintroduction, Takano said, “We cannot allow extremists in our country to once again normalize homophobia and attacks on LGBTQ people. We can’t turn away from the discrimination that still exists for so many LGBTQ people today.”

Will it pass this time?

Its passage in the House is uncertain, now that Republicans hold a slim majority. In 2021, 206 House Republicans voted against the bill while three voted for it. George Santos (R-NY), the first out-gay GOP Rep, has not stated whether he will vote for it or not, but it’s believed unlikely (if he’s still in office, of course).

Democrats now have a slim majority in the Senate. Some point to the success of the Respect For Marriage Act, which passed with bipartisan support last November, to say there’s hope for the Equality Act.

“The fight for LGBTQ+ rights has been long, but we have made unmistakable progress in the fight towards true equality,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin said last Wednesday. “Just a decade ago, passing marriage equality and the Respect for Marriage Act with a dozen Republican senators on our side would have been unthinkable.”

“We defied political gravity,” she added.

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