House Democrats Move To Allow Religious Headwear On Floor After a 181-year Ban
The new proposal would reverse a 181-year ban on religious headwear
Newly elected Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, is spearheading an effort to allow religious headwear such as hijabs and kippahs, on the House Floor.
The new proposal would reverse a 181-year ban on religious headwear in the house.
The historical rule change was suggested by Nancy Pelosi last week amid the wave of diverse lawmakers elected to Congress
Pelosi, who is currently scrambling to reclaim her position as Speaker of the House, is working with Ranking Member Jim McGovern and Omar on the initiative.
The new rule change would “ensure religious expression” by “clarifying in the rules that religious headwear is permitted to be worn in the House chamber,” the proposal states.
The proposal is part of a Democratic rollout aimed at restoring "inclusion and diversity."
According to ABCNews: Democrats also want to create an independent diversity office to “facilitate a diverse workforce with qualified candidates that is reflective of our Members” and their districts, as well as an amendment on House rules to clearly “ban discrimination by sexual identification and gender identity.”
No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 17, 2018
And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift. https://t.co/7U3ZLTaWur
Before her success in the midterms, Omar made history in Minnesota when she was elected to the State House in 2016 as nation's first Somali-American legislator.
The current rules were adopted in the 1800s without much debate, and the language was eventually modified to read, “Every member shall remain uncovered during the sessions of the House.”
It was custom in the British Parliament to wear hats while in session.
The new proposals, if approved, will take effect in January with the start of the 2019 legislative session.