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Michael Swartz / Feb. 26, 2021

‘Equality Act’ Creates New Persecuted Class

The Left’s assault on religious liberty and science continues apace with this House bill.

It was expected to pass, and yesterday the House of Representatives approved what’s become known as the “Equality Act.” Also passed in 2019, yesterday’s vote was a nearly partisan 224-206, with three Republicans joining Democrats on a bill that adds “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity” to the kinds of discrimination prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as well as the Fair Housing Act, the Equality Credit Opportunity Act, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972). Such a thing as “transgender” was unheard of in 1964. Nevertheless, Democrats say, the word “sex” now means “identity.” The bill is accurately described by author Ryan T. Anderson as “legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head.”

Anderson, whose book on gender dysphoria was banned by Amazon recently, summed up this new legislation: “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.” He adds, “If you fear what Big Tech can do if you dissent from gender ideology, just wait to see what Big Government will do if the so-called Equality Act becomes law.”

Strategically, as our publisher Mark Alexander has previously noted, this effort is largely about appeasing the Democrat’s largest voter constituency, women, whom they consider to be emotionally incontinent dupes.

Ironically, however, opponents of the bill rightly charge that it would not only harm women’s sports by allowing men who identify as women to compete but would also remove the sanctity from other women-only spaces such as restrooms, private clubs, and prisons. In all those instances, the desires of a “transgender” man would take precedence over decades of commonsense separation of the two sexes.

“By erasing sex as a distinct legal category, the measure threatens to open up female-only spaces and opportunities designed to increase representation for girls to biological men, which can endanger the safety of women and girls,” declared Inez Stepman, a policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Forum. Keeping it in the family, her husband Jerrett describes a panel discussion held by The Daily Signal where several experts weighed in with their principled opposition.

Of deep concern to biblically faithful Christians, the bill will nullify the protections afforded to believers under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a previous sticking point that even some Democrats have complained about in the past.

After all, one of the authors of the RFRA back in the early ‘90s was none other than then-Representative Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Beyond the RFRA, however, is the little inconvenience called the First Amendment.

None of that mattered to the House, controlled by the ostensibly Catholic Nancy Pelosi. The chamber passed the bill, and the ostensibly Catholic President Joe Biden supports it. Since Biden’s itching to sign it, the biggest hurdle now will be getting it through the Senate since the bill will fall under a 60-vote cloture rule. The question is how many Senate Republicans will fold under the full-court press sure to be waged inside the Beltway on this one.

True to that principle, proponents are already arguing that the measure is simply an extension of the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock decision, wherein a divided Court expanded the definition of discrimination on the account of sex to cover homosexual and “transgender” persons. If HR 5 only did that, most would likely at least concede the sentiment. Even the dissenters in Bostock did that, noting that their objection was primarily based on the fact that Congress simply had not addressed the issue by passing a bill to add this language since the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, in this rendition, the Democrats decided to add more on the Rainbow Mafia’s wish list and eliminate the right for religious people to object.

In the old days, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate might have worked together to massage the bill into something all sides could stomach. Perhaps that would include granting additional protections outlawing discrimination against LGBT individuals in the workplace and housing — the basis for the Bostock case, among others — while protecting religious liberty and addressing scientific and fair-competition concerns about biological men competing in women’s sports.

Unfortunately, today’s radically left Democrats demand obeisance to an all-or-nothing “solution” despite the numerous laws already in place that address the subject — never mind the states that have addressed this in their own myriad ways. Fully enacted or not, the Orwellian “Equality Act” will be a divisive issue Democrats campaign on in 2022 and beyond until they’ve won yet another victory in the culture war.

(For further reading, Mark Alexander has a comprehensive essay on responding to the “LBGT” agenda.)

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