A bill designed to provide protection against discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation advanced in the House on Thursday, but not without resistance led by anti-LGBTQ Republicans.
According to the historic legislation’s language, the Equality Act prohibits discrimination “on the basis of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition of an individual, as well as because of sex-based stereotypes.”
The fact that anybody would be opposed to such a law was inexplicable to Texas Rep. Al Green, who, during the period when lawmakers addressed the Equality Act on the House floor, made it clear how he felt about his Republican colleagues who had already announced their intentions against voting for the bill.
Referencing various forms of discrimination his ancestors had to face as Black people in America, Green publicly questioned Republicans’ beliefs and morals.
Opening with his usual nod to Maya Angelou, Green began, “And still I rise, Mr. Speaker,” after he was introduced. Then Green got right down to business calling out Republicans.
“You used God to enslave my foreparents. You used God to segregate me in schools. You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Have you no shame? God created every person in this room. Are you saying that God made a mistake? This is not about God, it’s about men who choose to discriminate against other people because they have the power to do so,” Green stated.
Referencing Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, an openly gay Democrat who helped introduce the Equality Act last week, Green said history would remember Republicans opposing the bill in this pivotal moment of progress in the country they claim to love so much.
“My record will not show that I voted against Mr. Cicilline having his rights,” Greene continued. “My record will show that when I had the opportunity to deliver liberty and justice for all, I voted for rights for all.”
Watch Green deliver those forceful and compelling words on the House floor.
One day earlier, Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — one of the loudest voices against the Equality Act — lashed out in a hateful demonstration of her transphobia by taping up a sign outside of her own office challenging the topic of gender identity. Taylor Greene then tweeted a video of herself erecting the sign and wrote that “the so-called ‘Equality’ Act” will “destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms.” She said she put up the sign — reading, “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE” — so that Illinois Rep. Marie Newman — who has a trans daughter — “can look at it every time she opens her door.”
Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy expressed similarly ignorant views on the issue, the New York Times reported.
“This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe,” Roy said. “We’re not going to do that.”
The House ultimately voted to pass the Equality Act, 224-206. The bill now moves on to the Senate, which is split evenly along party lines, making it entirely possible that Vice President Kamala Harris could cast the tie-breaking vote to put the Equality Act on President Joe Biden‘s desk to sign into law.