The White House endorsed legislation Tuesday that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration had been reviewing the bill “for several weeks.”
“Upon that review it is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,” he said. “That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.
“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the legislative process produces a result that balances both the bedrock principles of civil rights . . . with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country,” Earnest added.
Although there is little chance that this Congress will approve the legislation — which was introduced in July by Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), and Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) — President Obama’s support elevates the question of whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans need greater legal safeguards. Last week, Houston voters rejected an ordinance that would have barred discrimination against gay and transgender people after opponents said it would allow men disguised as women to enter women’s restrooms.
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