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LGBTQ rights bill ignites debate over religious liberty

A bill that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people is a top priority of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. Yet as the Equality Act heads to the Senate after winning House approval, its prospects seem bleak — to a large extent because of opposition from conservative religious leaders. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention have come out strongly against the act, saying it discriminates against people of faith and threatens religious liberty. The bill would amend civil rights law to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, with protections for employment, housing, education and public accommodations such as restaurants, theaters, hotels, libraries and retail stores.

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