The U.S. House of Representatives approved Friday (May 17) an expansive gay and transgender rights bill that opponents warn would devastatingly undermine freedom of religion, conscience and speech, as well as protections for women, girls and unborn children.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 236-173 for the Equality Act, H.R. 5, marking the first time a bill to bar discrimination against people who identify as gay or transgender has gained approval in a congressional chamber.
The bill would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the classifications protected in federal civil rights law. "Sexual orientation" includes homosexuality and bisexuality, while "gender identity" refers to the way a person perceives himself regardless of his biology at birth.