Democratic-led House passes Equality Act in a 224-206 vote

Three Republicans sided with Democrats and voted in favor of the bill

The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which provides anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, in a 224-206 vote on Thursday.

The Republicans who voted with the Democrats were Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, John Katko of New York and Tom Reed of New York, co-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus.

The Equality Act would prohibit the use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which passed in a bipartisan vote at the time and was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The nearly 30-year-old legislation prohibited "any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability."

Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops publicly criticized the bill in a letter to lawmakers ahead of the vote.