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Rights group ‘disgusted’ as Trump reportedly declares opposition to Equality Act

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LGBTI rights advocates in the US have slammed the Trump administration after it emerged the president opposed the Equality Act.

A senior official said the bill, which protects LGBTI people from discrimination, ‘is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights’, The Washington Blade reported on Monday (13 May).

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill on Friday.

President of LGBTI rights group Human Rights Campaign said ‘We’re disgusted, but certainly not surprised’ that Trump opposes the bill.

The Equality Act is supported by seven in ten Americans and more than two hundred major businesses, he noted in a statement.

‘By opposing this common sense civil rights legislation, Donald Trump is ensuring that LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired or denied housing in a majority of states’.

The American Civil Liberties Union also responded.

‘Thankfully, most Americans disagree with President Trump and believe that our nation’s nondiscrimination laws should explicitly cover LGBTQ people, too’ the organization wrote on Twitter.

Commentators were quick to note that in 2000, Trump supported such legislation.

‘I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation’ he said.

What is the Equality Act?

The Equality Act seeks to prohibit discrimination for LGBTI people by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Legislators introduced the first version of it in 1974, only including sexual orientation in various areas of life. Previously, the Equality Act as it exists today, including both sexual orientation and gender identity, has been introduced to Congress twice. The first time was in 2015 and then again in 2017.

Both years the bill died in committee.

Democrats re-introduced it to Congress in March. After Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives following last year’s midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it was a ‘top priority’.

Many experts, however, warn the legislation has a long chance of passing with a Republican-controlled Senate.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, announced on Monday (13 May) its opposition to the Equality Act.

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Author: Rik Glauert