Republican Rep. Susan Brooks votes against party line, supports anti-discrimination 'Equality Act'
INDIANAPOLIS — Rep. Susan Brooks, R-IN05, was one of a handful Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to go against her party and vote in favor of H.R. 5, also known as the Equality Act.
The bill would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and protect people in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.
“Discrimination of any kind, towards anyone, is wrong and at this time in our nation’s history, we cannot turn a blind eye to the discrimination the LGBTQ community faces,” Brooks said in a statement.
Brooks was one of eight House Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. Every Democrat on the floor voted for it. The bill passed, 236-173, but it faces a tough road to becoming law in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Opponents of the bill say it government overreach and would violate the First Amendment. President Donald Trump is expected to veto the legislation in the event it reaches him.
Brooks may have voted in favor of the legislation, but she admitted it has problems.
“I am pro-life and share the sentiment of my pro-life colleagues and constituents that conscience protections need to remain in place for medical providers with religious or moral objections so that they cannot be forced to perform abortions,” her statement reads. “However, these conscience protections under the Weldon and Hyde amendments in current law are not altered by this bill and will remain in place under current law. As the legislative process moves forward, I will advocate for clarification language that would improve this bill.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill will bring the nation "closer to equal liberty and justice for all."
The other House Republicans who voted in favor of the bill are Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas, Greg Walden of Oregon and New York representatives John Katko, Tom Reed and Elise Stefanik.