‘Pro-gay’ Republican group might not endorse US Equality Act

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A Republican group that advocates for LGBT rights has indicated it might not endorse a sweeping new Equality Act.

le.The Republicans currently control both Houses of Congress, and last year blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which included vital protections for LGBT workers – from coming to a vote.

However, amid building momentum following the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, over 100 Democrats have co-sponsored a new bill known as the Equality Act – which would outlaw discrimination and ensure a range of protections for LGBT people.

Despite the bill’s endorsements from large corporations including Apple, the Log Cabin Republicans – a supposedly pro-LGBT wing of the Republican party – has indicate it might not back it.

A statement from the group’s director Gregory T Angelo said it would not yet take any position to support the bill – because of “hesitations” over its content.

Mr Angelo said: “It is widely known that Log Cabin Republicans has long supported, lobbied, and advocated for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation, but we share hesitations about the Equality Act expressed by a number of organizations including LGBT advocates on the left and other civil rights groups.

“Some of our staunchest Republican allies in Congress with unassailable records in favour of LGBT equality have indicated similar concerns with this legislation.

“The full text of the Equality Act was only provided to Log Cabin Republicans late last night, mere hours prior to the bill’s formal introduction.

“We will review this bill with our allies in Congress and National Board of Directors prior to taking any official position.

“Log Cabin Republicans does not operate on the timetables of others; ultimatums are not the way to grow coalitions.”

Though Mr Angelo does not explicitly say so, the “hesitations” expressed by other Republicans surround the lack of exemption for religious groups to continue to discriminate against LGBT people.

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has previously backed pro-LGBT legislation, told the Washington Blade: “While the Equality Act seeks to be an important step forward to protect LGBT individuals against discrimination in housing, workplaces, schools, and public accommodations, I have concerns about the current proposal’s broadness and how it will impact religious organizations.

“I remain committed to working to ensure all Americans are treated fairly.”

So far, zero Republicans have come forward to co-sponsor the bill – hurting its chances of passing through a Republican-dominated Congress.

(h/t Towleroad)