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The House on Friday passed the CROWN Act, which bans discrimination against people because of their hair texture or style.

The bill is authored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, NJ-12 Mercer County. H.R. 2116 is also known as Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2021 or the CROWN Act.

The measure passed 235-189 along party lines. Only 14 Republicans supported the bill. NJ Republicans Jeff Van Drew, NJ-2, and Chris Smith, NJ-4 voted against the bill. All 10 state Democrats voted yes.

On March 1, House Republicans prevented the passage of the bill, under a fast-track process used for noncontroversial measures that require a two-thirds supermajority for passage. At the time, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, argued that the bill was seeking to ban something that was already unlawful. Read More: NJ Hair Discrimination Bill Blocked By House Republicans

Democrats subsequently scheduled a vote on the legislation under a rule requiring a simple majority.

Find out what’s happening in Princetonwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

“Here we are today, standing on behalf of those individuals, whether my colleagues on the other side recognize it or not, are discriminated against as children in school, as adults who are trying to get jobs, individuals who are trying to get housing, individuals who simply want access to public accommodations and to be beneficiaries of federally-funded programs,” Watson-Coleman said on the House floor on Friday.

“And why are they denied these opportunities? Because there are folks in this society who get to make those decisions who think because your hair is kinky, it is braided, it is in knots or it is not straight and blond and light brown, that you somehow are not worthy of access to those issues.”

“Well, that’s discrimination,” she added.

Once again, Jordan questioned the need for the bill on the House floor saying there were other important issues to discuss. “Fourteen months of chaos and we are doing a bill on hair,” he said. The Ohio Congressman said the House should consider legislation related to inflation and gas prices instead.

“I understand that my colleagues on the Republican side don’t get the vast array of discriminatory practices because they spend so much time trying to perpetuate an all-white society here in the most diverse country in the world,” Watson Coleman said in response to Jordan.

With widespread GOP opposition, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

The White House said it strongly supports the bill. “The President believes that no person should be denied the ability to obtain a job, succeed in school or the workplace, secure housing, or otherwise exercise their rights based on a hair texture or hairstyle,” the White House said in a statement earlier this week.

New Jersey passed a similar bill in 2019, after a high school student wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit the match. Andrew Johnson of Buena Regional High School was given an ultimatum to cut his hair or forfeit his match against Oakcrest. The student chose to cut his dreadlocks.

When a video of the incident went viral, it caused an uproar, prompting Gov. Phil Murphy to sign the legislation.

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