Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican,
on Tuesday announced that he would oppose passage of the Equality
The Equality Act seeks to add
protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity to existing civil rights laws in key areas such as
employment, credit, housing, federally-funded programs, and public
accommodations. It also prohibits the use of the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
In a statement given to the Washington
Blade, a Romney spokesperson said that the senator was opposed.
“Sen. Romney believes that strong
religious liberty protections are essential to any legislation on
this issue, and since those provisions are absent from this
particular bill, he is not able to support it,” Arielle
Mueller said in an email.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a
Democrat from Maryland, on Tuesday announced that the House will vote
on the Equality Act next week. The legislation is a priority for the
While support in the House, which
passed the legislation last year, is strong, the Equality Act has yet
to be voted on in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed for bills to
avoid the threat of a filibuster. It remains unclear whether the
bill's sponsors can find 10 Republican votes in the chamber.
In 1994, Romney said that he backed the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that sought to
prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. (A
version of ENDA that added gender identity protections was introduced
in 2007.) Romney said that he supported broadening ENDA's protections
to include housing and credit.