On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed the law after a debate by a vote of 224-206, sending the draft law to the Senate. The vote was largely along party lines, where most GOP representatives opposed the law brought by Democrats, though three Republicans voted in its favour.
The landmark law has been one of the most hotly debated of the Biden administration so far, expanding upon principles of anti-discrimination for the LGBT+ community that have been set out in Supreme Court rulings but which largely only exist in terms of legislation on a patchwork, state-by-state basis.
Swift, who has been a longtime supporter of the bill, posted on Twitter: "YES!!! Fingers crossed and praying that the Senate will see trans and lgbtq rights as basic human rights."
The popstar had earlier released an open letter supporting the bill and condemned former president Donald Trump’s stance on the issue. She also previously started a petition for the then-Republican leaning Senate to pass the Equality Act.
Her sentiments on the passing of the bill in the House were echoed by several other celebrities, including Demi Lovato, who demanded the law must be passed in the Senate too.
“YES YES YES,” said Lovato, who has previously said she identifies as queer. “This is an incredible step forward but now we need our Senate to follow suit!!”
President Biden also took to Twitter and said: “Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act. Now it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”
The law however, faces an uncertain future in the Senate where, if both parties vote based on party lines, it will not receive the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
Actor and activist George Takei wrote: “How ironic that, should the GOP filibuster the Equality Act, it will be Krysten Sinema, the first openly bisexual person ever elected to the US senate, whose baffling support for the filibuster actually prevents the bill from ever becoming law. History is watching, Senator.”
While Democrats are set to vote in the favour, GOP members including moderates have refused to support the law on the basis that they believe in will impinge on religious freedoms.
The legislation was previously passed in 2019 in the House, but blocked in the Senate.
The act aims at banning discrimination against LGBT+ by expanding the protections given by the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination based on race, colour and gender, as well as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Services Act. It brings discrimination based on gender orientation under the ambit of gender based discrimination.