The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on S 393, the “Equality Act” on Wednesday, March 17. The act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to federal non-discrimination laws that cover employment, health care, public accommodations, housing, education, federally funded programs and more.
The bill also redefines “sex” – being male or female – to include “a sex stereotype; pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; sexual orientation or gender identity; and sex characteristics, including intersex traits.”
- 393 is the Senate version of the Equality Act; the House version, H.R. 5, passed by a vote of 224 to 206 on Thursday, February 25. The bill would have a number of harmful effects. The Equality Act would:
- Enshrine abortion into federal law – that’s what “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” refers to.
- Open single-sex restrooms, locker rooms and restrooms to those who believe they are or claim to be the opposite sex.
- Require health care professionals and medical facilities to participate in abortions.
- Force medical providers to provide drugs, hormones and surgeries for those attempting to become the opposite sex.
- Open up girls and women’s sports to biological males who think they are women.
- Compel schools to teach children of all ages about transgender ideology and sexual orientation.
- Give abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity the same protections as religious liberty, free speech and freedom of association.
- Take scholarships, prizes and opportunities for women – and give them to men who “identify” as women.
- Codify into law that disagreement with abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism is discrimination and bigotry – the same as racism.
Christian leaders have spoken out against this dangerous legislation. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly told The Daily Citizen:
If enacted, the Equality Act would significantly set back the pro-life movement by removing critical protections for the most innocent as well as undermine religious freedom and our rights of conscience. God’s truth should guide and direct our strong and absolute opposition to this dangerous legislation.
Concerned Women for America is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation. CEO and President Penny Nance wrote:
The Equality Act’s unverifiable and unscientific attempt to address discrimination by elevating protections for certain groups on the basis of a new definition of sex is a direct threat against every woman in America. Its effects are nothing less than extreme, far-reaching, and uncontainable. It is clear that advocates are not interested in taking these dangerous threats seriously and have no answers to the inherent conflict that elevating perception above scientific, biological reality will impose on the rights of 51% of the U.S. population–women.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. said:
[T]he Equality Act would send a clear moral message throughout the culture, with both national and international consequences. The forces pushing for the passage of the Equality Act clearly intend these consequences. A moral message will be telegraphed throughout society, normalizing virtually everything comprehended within the ever-expanding categories of LGBTQ.
Yet the Equality Act is not merely a message. It is a draconian threat of legal, political, financial, and cultural coercion, and the coercive powers of the new moral order will be directed – as the Equality Act makes clear – against any resistance. Make no mistake about it: That coercion will be brought against religious schools, ministries, non-profits, and all religious institutions. The bill does not even acknowledge the sacred rights of religious congregations and denominations. Individual believers too will be coerced into compliance with the new moral regime, which is coming with a vengeance.
Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila, along with Colorado Bishops Stephen Berg, Michael Sheridan and Jorge Rodriquez, wrote that the legislation takes “subjective perceptions” about attractions and identities, and equates them with race and sex. They also state that the act claims to ban discrimination, but warn:
However, it actually codifies discrimination against anyone with a different belief about human sexuality and forces them to conform to government-mandated beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity under threat of criminal and financial penalties.
If the Equality Act is signed into law, the Catholic Church’s social teaching on human sexuality will be effectively outlawed as discriminatory and many of the Church’s institutions and faithful could be accused of violating this law (emphasis in original).
Sammy Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told CBN News:
Our elected officials must not attempt to address inequality by making others less equal. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference joins Latino Catholics in opposing the Equality Act. While a high bar, it is almost impossible to imagine a more disastrous piece of legislation than the Equality Act. …
In the U.S., we cannot protect one minority by disenfranchising the sincerely held religious beliefs of another minority. I look forward to standing alongside rabbis, pastors, bishops, and priests in opposing this haphazard effort to address a legitimate concern,” he concluded.
The Equality Act needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. An anonymous source told The Daily Citizen that senators from as many as 10 states are on the fence about the bill.
Photo from Heritage Action