May 10, 2019
By Travis Weber, FRC Vice President of Policy
The Equality Act, by now quite familiar to all of us, will finally be voted on in the House next week. Its title sounds smooth and is designed to be attractive. But beneath the veneer, the faulty premises upon which it rests have poisoned the entire bill, which is irreparably tainted. If passed, its impact upon American life and culture can be summed up in one word: devastation.
It starts by being built upon a lie—that one's sexual conduct is substantially the same as an immutable characteristic like one's skin color. Once cemented into law, this lie is ready to be forced into educational curricula around the country as activists use the courts in their shameless attempt to piggyback on the legacy of the civil rights movement. As women are steamrolled by the LGBT ideology enshrined in the Equality Act, feminists realize who their true friends are: conservatives.
This emerging alliance is built on truth: biology, not ideology, dictates that we are men and women. Though physically different, we are equal in worth, and deserving of protection. Indeed, the very sex discrimination protections for men and women which we have had for decades are being steamrolled by the Equality Act's notion of "gender identity," which dismisses the concerns of women being forced to violate their privacy or compete against biological men in sporting competitions.
Women powerlifters competing with one another understand this. Why is it so hard for everyone else? Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing many years ago about sex distinctions in the context of the Equal Rights Amendment, defended privacy for men and women in the context of bathrooms. Yet now all this is being willfully ignored.
I actually do think there is a silent majority out there; many Americans agree that women shouldn't be forced to violate their privacy or compete against men -- but they need to find their voice; many are just too cowed and scared of those pushing the LGBT ideology right now to say anything. For the good of our children and our families, we need our fellow Americans know the truth and agree with us to find their voice and speak up.
As if this embedded inequality for women was not enough, the Equality Act would expand abortion throughout our healthcare system, and put in jeopardy the long-standing conscience laws protecting those opposed to abortion, and even the Hyde Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. There are no protections for those that object to abortion under the Equality Act—just a right to abortion.
Finally, the Equality Act would gut religious freedom. Even some houses of worship would be barred from ensuring their leaders and other employees abide by their own beliefs. Under the Equality Act, women who identify as men would have to be accepted as men and therefore potentially eligible to serve in positions reserved for men (such as a Catholic Priest or Jewish Rabbi). Under such restrictions, the gospel would slowly be choked off in American life.
The vote in the House next week on this anti-family, anti-faith, anti-freedom, and pro-abortion legislation is a moment in our national life. It will not measure just who favors the ideology in the Equality Act, but who is in favor of forcing it on the neighbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow citizens. It is that coercive. It must be stopped.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.