For years, Democratic lawmakers have sought to pass the Equality Act, which amends the Civil Rights Act to add sexual preference and gender identity to its protected classes, shielding LGBTQ people from discrimination across a vast array of sectors such as credit, housing, employment, and credit.
The Democratic-majority House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on Thursday, but not without significant Republican opposition.
In the 90 minutes of debate leading up to the final floor vote, Republican representatives railed against the bill, claiming it would subvert the religious freedom of Americans across the country.
Largely operating under the assumption that LGBTQ people and religious people are mutually exclusive, they cited scripture and invoked God in their opposition to protecting LGBTQ people under the Civil Rights Act.
In reality, the bill simply prohibits any business or employer operating in the public sphere from discriminating against LGBTQ people, just as it's prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, and other protected classes. The bill also enjoys support from a broad variety of faith-based organizations.
Democrats in the House erupted in applause after Representative Al Green (D-TX) countered the so-called religious freedom arguments by noting the numerous times religion has been invoked to defend injustices of the past, such as slavery and segregation.
“You used god to segregate me in schools. You used god to put me in the back of the bus...” https://t.co/dBBP14bter— Acyn (@Acyn) 1614284234.0
"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."
Twitter users applauded Green's passionate rebuke.
Amen. People should actually READ their bible rather than wield it as a weapon with which to beat others down. https://t.co/u6wMmnPMPz— Heather Gardner (@Heather Gardner) 1614291092.0
Amen. https://t.co/6R24ddm3hw— Charles Booker (@Charles Booker) 1614285140.0
There you have it https://t.co/TJJXncnCqQ— Senator Megan Hunt 😷 (@Senator Megan Hunt 😷) 1614287326.0
This right here. Powerful. https://t.co/814TvYkLjs— T (@T) 1614293759.0
Wow. Thank you, Representative Green. https://t.co/Vp0zkMit8C— Dale 🇺🇸🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@Dale 🇺🇸🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️) 1614284874.0
Who uses god to discriminate in this country? I want to make this clear—it’s white Christians, and it’s about power https://t.co/yaayBFHTnp— magda.boyo (@magda.boyo) 1614285380.0
Green wasn't the only one to push back against the bogus religious freedom argument.
Republicans say "religious freedom" protects discrimination against LGBTQ people. The same claim was made to deny r… https://t.co/6IWSJ8tsGY— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer) 1614280847.0
Real religious freedom means everyone has the right to practice a faith, or no faith, as long as we don't harm othe… https://t.co/93iGD4TPHS— Americans United (@Americans United) 1614284914.0
I am a Christian. The words and example of Jesus Christ inform my life, but please for the love of everything holy… https://t.co/SXGlJ3GpKp— jerushah duford (o | | | | o) (@jerushah duford (o | | | | o)) 1614257442.0
Though the House passed the Equality Act, it still needs 10 Republican votes in the Senate to have a hope of passing.