In the House, consideration of the measure devolved into bitter acrimony.
In emotional remarks in support of the bill, Ms. Newman said she was fighting to advance the legislation to ensure that people like her transgender daughter would no longer face discrimination. Ms. Greene responded on Twitter, saying Ms. Newman’s daughter did not “belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.”
The back-and-forth came after Ms. Newman had earlier posted video of herself putting up a transgender pride flag outside her office on Capitol Hill, so Ms. Greene, who has the office across the hall, would have to “look at it every time she opens her door,” Ms. Newman said. In response, Ms. Greene circulated her own video in which she put up a poster of her own outside her office that bore the phrase: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE.”
Ms. Greene may have been the most vocal in her opposition to the legislation, but it drew fierce criticism from nearly all House Republicans, many of whom argued that the protections were overly expansive and infringed on religious freedom.
“This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe,” said Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas. “We’re not going to do that.”
Others claimed that the legislation could imperil women’s rights, an argument long used by conservatives to oppose transgender rights legislation, despite the fact that the bill contains protections explicitly to prevent discrimination against women.
Before the vote, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, approvingly shared on Twitter a Wall Street Journal op-ed that asserted that the measure would “threaten the existence of women’s prisons, public-school girls’ locker rooms, and women’s and girls’ sports teams.”
“One of the many reasons to oppose this bill,” Mr. Jordan wrote.
The legislation has won the support of several civil rights groups as well as high-profile leaders in the business community, including Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.