Although President Biden is represented in the White House and democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen prohibition of discrimination against LGBTQ people through the passage of the Equal Opportunities Act are as good as dead, since opponents of the measure have distorted it no longer recognizable.
It lacks the political will to find a compromise acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill – a big job, anyway – nor lacks the will to force a vote on the equality law Opponents of transgender fears are fueling children in sports and there is not even unanimity in the Democratic faction in favor of the bill, said stakeholders, who spoke to the blade on condition of anonymity.
In fact, there are no upcoming plans to vote on the law, even though Pride month is only days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community by voting on the law.
If the Equal Opportunities Act were to come to a vote in the Senate next month, it would not have the support to pass it. Ongoing assurances that bipartisan talks on the legislation will continue has produced no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.
“I didn’t really hear an update either, which is usually not a good thing,” said a Democratic insider. “My understanding is that our side was rooted in and with an uncompromising mindset [Sen. Joe] Manchin said he did not like the bill, that he had doomed it for this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of transporters derailed our message and our arguments as to why it was generally necessary. “
The last nail in the coffin of the Equal Opportunities Act is only prevented by the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders speaking to the blade continued to claim that bipartisan talks were ongoing and strongly dismissed any conclusion that the legislation was dead.
Alphonso David, president of the human rights campaign, said the equality law was “alive and well,” citing broad public support he said, “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and a growing number of communities across the country, who get involved and mobilize everyone ”. Legislative Support Day. “
“They understand the urgent need to pass this law and advocate for LGBTQ people across our country,” added David. “As we work with elected officials, we trust that Congress will listen to the votes of their constituents and continue to fight for the equality law during the lengthy legislative process. We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to increase the already high level of public support for a popular law that will save lives and make our country more just and equal for all. We won’t stop until the Equal Opportunities Act is passed. “
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), The Senate’s main sponsor of the Equality Act, also signaled through a spokesman that work on the legislation will continue and refuses to abandon expectations that the legislation will soon become law.
“Sen. Merkley and his staff are actively engaged in discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make this happen, ”said McLennan. “We definitely see it as one of the most important priorities that we become law.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the equality law in the Senate on the day the House of Representatives approved him, pointed to a letter, “Dear colleague “Of March 25, in which he named the Equal Opportunities Act as one of several laws that he would bring to a vote.
Despite all assurances, the delay in the invoice is obvious. Although the US House of Representatives approved the bill earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t even see the bill in plenary after the first Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Democratic adviser to the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, denied that inaction as evidence of the Equal Opportunities Act was dead: “Non-partisan efforts on the way forward are underway.”
Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for their inaction on the equality bill, but with Manchin withholding its support for the legislation, they can’t even expect their entire faction to vote “yes” when it comes to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to filibuster to advance laws that Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome the headwind and dismantle the institution that needs 60 votes to move the legislation forward, the Equal Opportunities Act likely wouldn’t get majority support find win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 split.
The Manchin office, which previously said it could not support the equality law because public schools are forced to implement transgender protections for sports and toilets, has not responded to and has not responded to multiple requests from Blade about the legislation this year Please responded to a comment on this article.
Meanwhile, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the equality bill this year after signing the bill in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesman that despite the appearances of the legislation, talks were still going on throughout Walking is dead.
“There is still bipartisan support for the passage of a law that will protect the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokeswoman. “The Equal Opportunities Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form it cannot happen. That is why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a further path. “
Let’s face it: anti-LGBTQ forces fueled the debate by passing the Equal Opportunities Act to end women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and dangers to women in gender-segregated places like toilets and prisons. That’s not even enough to solve the problem of drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be tried in court, as the US Supreme Court is expected to rule every day in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine whether care facilities can turn down same-sex couples over religious objections.
Transgender Americans who continue to report high levels of discrimination and violence are most felt in the absence of the Equal Opportunities Act.
Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, denied any notion that the equality law was dead and insisted that the legislation was “very much alive”.
“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” said Keisling. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working successfully with senators on the Equal Opportunities Act. In fact, with all of the field organization we do, we’re gaining momentum, like telephone banks to call their senators. Legislation takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect a vote to take place during this congress and we hope we can win. “
However, a Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, which appear to be coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have significantly outperformed calls for it, with a particular focus on Manchin.
There are no reports in the media of same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands, or transgender people for using the toilet in accordance with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws in the United States entire United States and inadequate federal protection.
Tyler Deaton, senior advisor to the American Unity Fund, which has supported the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes have been reached for a compromise form of the bill.
“I know for a fact that the Senate has a large majority support for a version of the Equality Act that fully protects both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” said Deaton. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in reaching this congress.”
However, Deaton did not respond to a follow-up inquiry about what evidence there was to reach an agreement on this compromise.
Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned for in the 2020 elections to have the Equal Opportunities Act enacted within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call for the law to be passed in his speech to Congress last month, it seems like a goal he will not achieve for the remainder of this Congress.
The Biden government has also not made the Equal Opportunities Act an issue for top officials within the administration, as it has pushed for an infrastructure package as a top priority. A Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, director of legislative affairs for the White House, delegated work on the equality law to a proxy rather than taking care of it herself.
Of course, Biden has shown his support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at unprecedented pace, signing an executive order on day one calling on federal agencies to as far as the US Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v Clayton County last year possible to implement and dismantle the transgender military ban of former President Trump. Biden has also set up historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health.
A White House spokesman insisted that Biden’s team remain committed to equality law across the board, citing his remarks to Congress.
“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Bill on his desk so it can enact it and give LGBTQ + Americans long overdue civil rights protection, and he remains committed to getting this bill passed as soon as possible will, ”said the spokesman. “The White House and all of its legislative team are in constant and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to drive the Equality Act forward.”
But at least in the short term, these advances won’t meet the promise to update the Federal Citizenship Act with the Equal Opportunities Act, which means LGBTQ people cannot rely on these protections when facing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.