However, with Republicans firmly in control of the White House and Senate, the bill's chances of becoming law appear slim.
While four currently serving GOP senators voted for the 2013 Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which included some of the same protections as the Equality Act, only one Republican senator has so far backed the Equality Act: Susan Collins of Maine. In order to pass the Senate, at least four Republicans would have to support the bill (assuming every Democrat and Independent voted in favor).
In an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., one of the bill's co-sponsors, said if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were to give senators a chance to vote on the Equality Act, they would support the measure.
“If you just had an up or down vote, we would have sufficient votes in both houses,” Baldwin said.
When asked if McConnell — who controls which bills are brought to the floor for a vote — would bring the Equality Act up for a vote on the Senate floor after it is reintroduced, David Popp, McConnell’s press secretary, was equivocal: “If the Leader issues a statement on this I’ll be sure to forward it to you,” he wrote in an email.
In a tweet shared on Wednesday, Rep. Cicilline suggested that McConnell may face electoral consequences if he chooses to block the law, which had 239 cosponsors in the House as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to CNBC, the Equality Act also enjoys the support of 161 of the country's largest and most valuable corporations, like Apple. CEO Tim Cook, who is gay, tweeted a message of support for the Equality Act.
But conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation say that "The Equality Act would undermine the freedom to think and act according to our beliefs," according to Emilie Kao, director of the foundation's Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society.
While President Donald Trump has not yet commented on the reintroduced Equality Act, he appears to have supported the idea of protecting gay people from discrimination in the past. In a 2000 interview with LGBTQ magazine The Advocate, Trump said he liked "the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation."
"It would be simple. It would be straightforward," he said. "Amending the Civil Rights Act would grant the same protection to gay people that we give to other Americans — it’s only fair."
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