Democrats raucously announced Wednesday the latest version of the proposed Equality Act, which would add gay and transgender protections to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“We’re asking for no more and no less” than equal rights for the LGBTQ community, the proposal’s sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, said during the bill’s unveiling in a reception room at the U.S. Capitol.
Democrats have introduced the legislation before, but never with the backing of a majority in one house of Congress. Most socially conservative members of Congress, who oppose LGBTQ lifestyles as being antithetical to biblical teachings, are unlikely to support the bill.
On Wednesday, the changed dynamics of congressional leadership were on display, as nearly 30 Democrats climbed onto a riser in the Rayburn Reception Room with a quartet of American flags in front of an oil painting of George Washington, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy moved through the crowd to reach his offices.
“Let’s insist this will be on the floor of the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Merkely of Oregon, a clear shot at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who controls what bills receive a vote.