The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Equality Act, by a vote of 224 to 206 on Thursday, February 25. The Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest LGBT activist organization, tweeted, “The #EqualityAct has passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. We are one step closer to ensuring that every person in America is treated equally under the law.”
That “bipartisan support” refers to 3 Republicans who voted for the measure.
The Equality Act adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal nondiscrimination laws. It also redefines “sex,” which meant being male or female when the Civil Rights Act was passed, to include: “a sex stereotype; pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; sexual orientation or gender identity; and sex characteristics, including intersex traits.”
Focus on the Family’s President Jim Daly explained some of the dangers of the act. He wrote, “If enacted, the bill would seriously undermine religious freedom and our rights of conscience.” He explained that the bill will sanction abortions and remove pro-life protections; allow males to overpower girls in athletics; close the doors of faith-based foster and adoption agencies; deny parental rights in the name of a sexualized political ideology; and silence people of faith.
LGBT activists and their allies spoke in favor of the bill and were quick to applaud its passage. Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., has a transgender-identified daughter. During the debate she said, “Without the Equality Act, this nation will never live up to its principles of freedom and equality,” adding, “I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know.”
The Democrat National Committee posted a tweet saying, “Hate has no home here. Thank you @HouseDemocrats for standing up to bigotry and ignorance and passing the #EqualityAct to protect our LGBTQ+ community.”
Meanwhile, Christian individuals and groups opposing the measure continue to speak out.
Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, tweeted, “The House just passed this extreme bill. What does it require? If you perform a mastectomy in the case of breast cancer, you will have to perform one on the teenage girl identifying as a boy. All in the name of equality.”
“We are witnessing the greatest assault on religious freedom, biological reality, and parental rights ever seen in the U.S. Congress,” said Tony Perkins in a tweet from Family Research Council.
Craig DeRoche, President and CEO of Family Policy Alliance, a Focus-allied organization, sent out an email after H.R. 5 passed the House, saying “It was always a longshot to stop the so-called ’Equality Act’ in Nancy Pelosi’s House, yet it was critical that you and I engage there.” He also said that “the deceptively named bill … is actually the biggest current threat to freedom and the sanctity of life.”
The group organized a virtual rally explaining the dangers of the Equality Act, which can be viewed here.
The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it faces a more difficult battle, as it will need 60 votes to break a legislative filibuster from Republican senators who oppose the measure. DeRoche encouraged Christians to stay engaged in the battle, saying we must “reach and mobilize citizens in the states of certain senators who could decide the outcome.”
Related articles and resources:
Watch the virtual rally: Equality Act Exposed
Focus on the Family’s Dr. Sharen Ford to Speak at ‘Equality Act Exposed’ Virtual Rally
House to Consider ‘Equality Act’ – A Threat to Life and Freedom
Jim Daly’s Blog: Three Things Every Family Needs to Know About What’s Happening in Washington D.C.
Virtual Rally: Equality Act Exposed
Photo from Shutterstock