House of Representatives Passes Equality Act

May 17, 2019

Although action on the bill is unlikely in the Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HR Policy-backed Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to federal civil rights laws.

The bill simply modernizes a law already in place—Title VII, which large companies strongly support. 

The Association has supported the measure in a letter to congressional leaders, saying, “Our members have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and they take proactive steps to ensure their companies are fostering positive and respectful cultures, free from any form of discrimination.  HR Policy Association urges Congress to pass the Equality Act, and we look forward to helping policy makers throughout the legislative process ensure that this final measure achieves its purpose and is consistent with the progressive practices that large companies have long embraced.”

Supreme Court to weigh in: The high court will consider in its next term whether Title VII protections of the Civil Rights Act apply to sexual orientation and gender identity, a position taken by the EEOC and some federal courts.  This will very likely propel the issue to greater prominence in the 2020 campaigns.

Will the Senate take the bill up?  While the measure generally has considerably less support among Republicans, Speaker McConnell (R-KY) has also insisted that the Senate’s focus for the remainder of the year will be on appropriations and nominations.  In 2020, expect more of the same as the elections take up much of the oxygen in the chamber.