April 10, 2019
Almost every day, it seems like there's a new revelation of the extremism of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her new congressional majority. The so-called Equality Act is one of the latest examples, which shows once again how the new Democratic party is being controlled by extreme LGBT activists.
Just days after Democrats took H.R. 5 for a test drive in the Judiciary Committee, the party was back at it -- this time in a Education and Labor subcommittee. To some people, the quick turnaround was just another sign of how dangerous the legislation is. As our own team will tell you, the Equality Act is so broad and touches so many areas of law that if it follows proper procedure it could be heard in as many as five committees before Pelosi's party is done. The bill is so far-reaching in its effect that it rewrites the rules of business, education, sports, health care, privacy, and faith.
While the committee's Democrats droned on about the Equality Act writing America's next great chapter, conservatives like James Comer (R-Ky.) had to set the record straight. Sure, the Kentucky Republican said, the "Equality Act sounds like a bill that advocates for all people... But as I look at H.R. 5 and learn more about what's in the bill, I'm deeply troubled -- and I believe most Americans would be deeply troubled by what's really there." It may have "a clever name," he said, but that can't hide the "serious, harmful consequences."
Casualty number one? Religious freedom. As far back as Chai Feldblum, liberals have been pretty candid about the fact that when faith and sexuality clash, there isn't "a single instance" when they thought religious liberty should win. The Equality Act makes sure of that, gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) "in ways," Comer warns, "that will have unintended effects we cannot know sitting here today." Not necessarily, the Human Rights Campaign's Sarah Warbler tried to argue during her testimony. "Both protections can co-exist."
Since when? Long before the Equality Act, dozens of bakers, florists, sportscasters, teachers, policemen, nurses, athletes, and so many others were already living proof that the Left has no interest in co-existence. Democrats haven't even hollowed out RFRA yet, and look at the fallout. If Congress ever did put the full weight of government behind the Left's intolerance -- and passed a bill like this -- imagine the price Americans would pay for believing in natural marriage and science-based gender. The 99 percent are already at the mercy of the one percent when it comes to locker rooms, sports competition, privacy, and business. What's next? Purging half the country from society?
The far-Left has been lying about this grand compromise for years. "Live and let live," they promised during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," same-sex marriage, bathroom, and transgender debates. Now, we have drag queens reading to our kids in elementary school, girls running from the half-naked boys in their locker room, and teachers getting fired for using the "wrong" pronoun. Fool me once, the saying goes, shame on you. Fool us twice, and suddenly, there's no such thing as the First Amendment, religious liberty, or expression.
Most Americans, even the ones the Left despises, aren't trying to discriminate. They just want the freedom to live out their beliefs in their every day lives. That doesn't mean they don't believe in the dignity and decency of people who identify differently than they do. These are folks, Comer points out, who believe in the "fair treatment of their fellow citizens." But they shouldn't have to sacrifice who they are to prove it.
"Some of the things I see in the Equality Act go beyond the pale of anything I've heard -- from anyone," Comer said. "The poor execution of this bill, I'm afraid, will result in certain persecution for millions of innocent Americans who are still under the impression that religious freedom is a fundamental American right." Stop House Democrats from taking a blowtorch to 230 years of constitutional tradition. Contact your representative and urge them to vote no on H.R. 5.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.