The Democratic Equality Act, which will most likely pass the House of Representatives Thursday, would impact abortion, marriage, family, gender, and more.
The Equality Act passed the Democratic-led House in 2019 with support from eight Republicans and unanimous support from Democrats, making it likely that it will again pass the House, NPR reported. But the bill’s fate in the Senate is less certain since it would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and it is not certain how some of the more moderate Democrats and Republicans will vote on the bill.
H.R.5 would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act with the stated purpose of preventing “discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.” Should it pass, the legislation would touch a variety of hot button topics including abortion, marriage, family, gender, sexuality, biological males in women’s sports and locker rooms, and more.
Biological Men In Women’s Spaces
Under the Equality Act, individuals who identify as another gender cannot be denied access to the locker room of their choice.
“An individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity,” the bill’s text reads.
The bill also expands the number of businesses counting as “public accommodations,” according to the National Review, specifically referencing shelters and salons. The publication noted that women who seek to escape violent men in shelters would thus be forced to share living quarters with biological men.
The bill’s reference to salons harkens back to a high profile 2019 case in which a transgender woman sued over a female salon employee’s refusal to wax the transgender woman’s scrotum, National Review reported.
The legislation explicitly says that it would trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, meaning that Americans could not use the RFRA to challenge and defend against any provisions in the Equality Act that violated their religious freedoms.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title,” the legislation says.
The Equality Act would redefine “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition,” according to the National Review. The publication noted that federal courts have already interpreted “related medical condition” to include abortion.
Supporters of the legislation say it ensures that LGBTQ Americans share equal rights with their fellow citizens. These supporters herald the Equality Act as legislation that only promotes love and equality.
“This is legislation that will strengthen protections for all people, including women, religious minorities, people of color, and LGBTQ people,” Ronald Newman, national political director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement last week.
“For people who live at the intersections of multiple targeted identities — particularly Black transgender women — discrimination is a persistent and painful daily reality,” Newman said. “The Equality Act will make it clear that no one should be turned away, harassed or discriminated against because of who they are.”
But critics like the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute argue that the Equality Act “attacks the lives of countless unborn children, endangers Catholic and other pro-life health care providers, provides a basis for challenging all state and federal limits on public funding of abortion, and treats religious believers as second-class citizens who must violate their fundamental moral convictions to serve the goals of the pro-abortion movement.”
“This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe. We’re not going to do that.”
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) February 25, 2021
Family Policy Alliance President and CEO Craig DeRoche told the Daily Caller News Foundation this week that the Equality Act’s sponsors so-named it to hide “what’s really lurking in it” — which DeRoche called “a broken proposal that sets us back decades when it comes to America’s long and hard-fought march toward equal justice for all.”
“The bill would erase the concepts of male and female throughout the most basic parts of American life — sports, locker rooms, small businesses, classrooms, and even parent-child relationships in the home,” DeRoche said. “Most concerning of all, the Equality Act endangers children — from the very beginning of their lives by sanctioning abortion, to childhood by pushing over-sexualized curriculum, and to adolescence by forcing children struggling with their bodies to transition away from their biological sex.”