President Joe Biden on Friday called on Congress to approve the Equality Act.

“I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation,” Biden said in a statement.

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.

The bill was introduced on Thursday by Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline, who is openly gay, and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

“Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all,” Biden said.

“Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems – and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law,” he added.

The legislation is expected to be voted on in the House next week. The House approved the bill last year and is widely expected to do the same during this legislative session.

The bill needs 10 GOP votes to clear the Senate if Democrats remain united.

On Tuesday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who was in the maybe column, announced he is opposed to the bill.

Biden said that passage of the Equality Act was needed to secure protections for LGBT Americans after he signed an executive order directing federal agencies to implement the Supreme Court's ruling in Bostock. The high court ruled in that case that discrimination against LGBT people is a form of sex discrimination. Bostock specifically prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace.

“On my first day in office, I was proud to sign an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” Biden said. “I directed agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling, and fully enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Now, it’s time for Congress to secure these protections once and for all by passing the Equality Act – because no one should ever face discrimination or live in fear because of who they are or whom they love.”