House set to approve sweeping bill to expand gay rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House are poised to approve sweeping anti-discrimination legislation that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dubbed the Equality Act, the bill is a top priority of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said it will bring the nation "closer to equal liberty and justice for all."

A vote is scheduled for Friday.

The legislation's chief sponsor, Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, (SIH-sil-lean-ee) said it affirms fairness and equality as core American values "and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind."

Republicans say the bill would jeopardize religious freedom by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexuality and sexual identity.