President Joe Biden released a statement Friday urging Congress to “swiftly pass” the Equality Act, a bill that would eliminate the legal recognition of male and female sex, cater to gender ideology, and designate protection for the unborn as “pregnancy” discrimination.
I applaud Congressman David Cicilline [D-RI] and the entire Congressional Equality Caucus for introducing the Equality Act in the House of Representatives yesterday, and I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation. Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.
Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law.
The House is expected to vote on the Equality Act, H.R. 5, next week. The legislation, which would rewrite civil rights law to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected classes, would likely upend the national culture as Americans have known it.
“The so-called Equality Act is legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head,” said Ryan Anderson, president of Ethics & Public Policy Center (EPPC), in a statement. “It isn’t drafted as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities from unjust discrimination, but as a sword to persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.”
Anderson underscored the tremendous impact the legislation will have on the privacy of women and girls, as well as the punitive consequences to which faith-based institutions and organizations will be exposed at its hands:
It sacrifices the equality, safety, and privacy of women, while privileging men who identify as women: If this bill becomes law, they’d have a civil right to spend the night in a battered women’s shelter, disrobe in a women’s locker room, and compete on a women’s sports team—even children at K-12 public schools.
Religious institutions fare no better. Religious schools, adoption agencies, and other charities would face federal sanction for operating according to basic biology and mainstream Biblical teaching on sex and marriage. Outrageously, this act exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pope Francis would be treated as the legal equivalent of a Jim Crow segregationist.
Anderson noted that any questioning of transgender medical treatments and surgeries would be labeled “discrimination” if the Equality Act becomes law.
“And any refusal to support or provide abortions would now be treated as ‘pregnancy’ discrimination,” he continued. “And no one—not even the act’s sponsors—can tell us what would be required under the act to avoid committing ‘discrimination’ in the case of ‘non-binary’ gender identities.”
Terry Schilling, executive director of American Principles Project (APP), explained further the Equality Act will make permanent in federal law Biden’s executive order on his first day as president regarding “Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.”
Schilling said in a statement:
Of course, this has been their goal for a long time, and we know by now the very terrible consequences which will occur if the ‘Equality’ Act passes. Female athletes will be forced to compete against biological males; women will be forced to share private spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters with men; and religious charities will be coerced into violating their beliefs or else be shut down.
Schilling warned while the “Equality” Act sounds virtuous, “every member of Congress should recognize” that a vote in favor of it “is a vote against women, particularly women and girl athletes, as well as a vote against Americans of faith.”
Jon Schweppe, APP director of policy and government affairs, noted in the last Congress the bill passed the House, 236-173, with eight Republicans voting to approve it. However, at that time, it failed to survive in the GOP-controlled Senate.
He explained further:
This year with Democrats controlling the Senate and the Presidency, the bill has at least a non-zero chance at becoming law. Do 10 Senate Republicans defect to get it past the filibuster? Do the Democrats scrap the filibuster in order to pass one of their biggest legislative priorities into law? Seems unlikely, but the margin is still too close for comfort.
Schweppe also warns Americans should not be fooled by the benevolent-sounding title of the “Equality” Act:
I think it’s important for those who don’t follow this issue closely to understand what exactly is wrong with the Equality Act. How could conservatives possibly oppose something that protects people against “discrimination”? That’s just awful, right? The problem is that the Equality Act wouldn’t protect people in need of protection as much as it would fundamentally change civil rights law for the worse.
“The intent of the Equality Act may be to promote equality and tolerance — love is love! — but the practical application of it would be to grant biological men the right to impose their will on women, whenever and wherever they want,” he observed, adding:
Any attempt by a medical professional to encourage a child to identify with their birth sex would be deemed illegal. The long-term result of this, combined with aggressive state statutes, is pretty frightening: parents with kids suffering from gender dysphoria will be forced to provide them with puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and ultimately sex changes, lest they violate the law.
Feminists as well recognize the Equality Act as Biden’s “war on women.”
Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) said in a post on its website:
While the Equality Act is being sold on promising good things for women, and on ending unfair treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people—which almost everyone agrees are worthy and important goals—it’s poisoned with the destruction of the law’s ability to allow any accommodations for women on the basis of sex.
WoLF noted as well many Americans may be unaware the Equality Act’s gender identity rules would pose a “danger” to women and children:
The bill’s authors made clear that gender identity is to take precedence over and replace sex as a protected category. The bill doesn’t mention individuals with clinically diagnosed gender dysphoria, or undertaking surgical or hormonal transition, thus making clear that self-declared gender identity would be sufficient to claim protected legal status.
EPPC Fellow Mary Rice Hasson commented on the far-reaching consequences of passage of the Equality Act, warning the measure would extend the “federal octopus” into “almost every aspect of Americans’ lives, imposing ‘gender identity’ requirements that effectively snuff out the sex-based rights of females, endanger parental rights, and silence religious believers in the public square.”
Make no mistake, if the Equality Act becomes law, children in every public school in America will be sold on a cult concept of the human person—that “who we are” is self-defined by feelings, regardless of biological sex. Female students will be forced into silence—or required to celebrate—when yesterday’s male classmate announces he “identifies” as a “girl” and demands to shower in the girls’ locker room, compete against her in sports, and claim for himself the hard-won rights of women.
“The Equality Act is nothing short of a Pandora’s Box which, once opened, will unleash damaging consequences impossible to undo,” she warned.