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President Obama Supports Adding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity To 1964 Civil Rights Act

"The administration strongly supports the Equality Act," says White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

The same day Out magazine named President Obama its Ally of the Year, he had to go out and prove it: The White House today endorsed legislation that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to incorporate banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president reviewed the measure for several weeks and, “upon that review, it is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act.”

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Earnest called the bill “historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans,” but said the White House wants to ensure the results balance civil rights with religious liberty.

The Equality Act—which covers employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federal funding, credit, jury selection and other arenas—was introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and three other Democratic pols this year, though it’s unlikely to pass any time soon with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress.

That’s despite the fact that a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Public Religion Research Institute ranked support for such protections at 68% nationwide.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery