Snopes on the Ropes over Equality Act Review

March 5, 2021

Getting the truth out about the Equality Act hasn't been easy. As if the mainstream media isn't deceptive enough, now liberals have the fact checkers doing their dirty work attacking those who are trying to put the facts out. But who's checking the fact checkers?

Over at Snopes, who is now in the business of truth checking prayers, the question was raised, if Franklin Graham's "Urgent Prayer Alert" about the radical Equality Act was correct. Like most people in the Christian community, Franklin has warned his followers that this is "a very dangerous piece of legislation" with implications for everyone from secular businesses to Christian schools. Desperate to downplay just how far-reaching the devastation to freedom would be, Snopes's Dan MacGuill takes apart the post piece by piece.

Under the "What's True" section, he concedes that the Equality Act would "prohibit schools, hospitals, public accommodations and in some cases churches from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; legally oblige those establishments to accommodate transgender persons in accordance with their preferred gender identity; remove a major 'conscience protection' for religious healthcare workers; and leave religious colleges open to being cut off from federal assistance if they violate Title VI non-discrimination rules."

What's false, Snopes insists, is that the bill wouldn't "neutralize an existing exemption in federal law that allows religious organizations to discriminate in favor of employees of the same religious faith or religious values." Sure, some of the titles may have religious liberty language that is maintained as a technicality, but the Equality Act takes multiple steps to neutralize their effectiveness. The actual text of H.R. 5 makes it quite clear that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- the most robust protection for Americans' religious freedom rights -- would be meaningless against any lawsuit on those grounds. Specifically, it says, "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."

Joe Biden and his army of extremists have made it their goal to demand conformity on LGBT issues from everyone. And it will only be a matter of time before every American in every profession has a choice between their jobs or organizations and their beliefs.

In the Bostock ruling that redefined what qualifies as "sex discrimination," Justice Samuel Alito pointed out in his dissent that "briefs filed by a wide range of religious groups––Christian, Jewish, and Muslim––express deep concern that the position now adopted by the Court 'will trigger open conflict with faith-based employment practices of numerous churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions...' This problem is perhaps most acute when it comes to the employment of teachers. A school's standards for its faculty 'communicate a particular way of life to its students,' and a 'violation by the faculty of those precepts' may undermine the school's 'moral teaching.' Thus, if a religious school teaches that sex outside marriage and sex reassignment procedures are immoral, the message may be lost if the school employs a teacher who is in a same-sex relationship or has undergone or is undergoing sex reassignment. Yet today's decision may lead to Title VII claims by such teachers and applicants for employment." The religious liberty protections within Title VII probably aren't enough to protect against those claims, especially if sexual rights are elevated above religious rights -- like they are in the Equality Act.

MacGuill also tries to downplay the impact on Christian schools and colleges, insisting in his slyly crafted response that the Equality Act wouldn't "directly" cause religious colleges to lose their accreditation. Not directly, no. But it is, as Snopes acknowledges, "a somewhat accurate assessment of the text of the bill and its legal consequences... the Equality Act, combined with the court precedents we discussed above, would effectively make it impermissible discrimination for schools and colleges not to accommodate transgender students according to their preferred gender identity, then failing or refusing to provide those accommodations could, in principle, ultimately lead the government to cut off federal assistance to those institutions."

And groups like the Human Rights Campaign aren't waiting for the Equality Act. They think Joe Biden can use his executive power at the Department of Education to deny "any school that stands against the LGBTQ revolution [their] accreditation." And maybe there are Christians who say, "Well, no big deal," Albert Mohler warns. It's a huge deal, he insists. Accreditation has everything to do with "whether your school can accept students from the GI Bill, whether or not your school can participate in federal student aid programs... And whether or not your degrees and credits will be recognized to transfer to another institution or [whether] your graduates [are] able to apply to a graduation program elsewhere...This is the worldview conflict we're facing."

Unfortunately, most Snopes readers probably didn't bother to scroll past the "mixed" rating on Graham's alert, or else they would have seen that the site confirmed more facts about the bill than it denied. That includes the truth about treating schools, churches, and health care groups as "public accommodations" that have to accept the government's beliefs and mandates about sexual orientation and gender identity. Snopes also agreed that the bill would force girls and women to welcome biological males in their sports, locker rooms, women's shelters, women's prisons. It will strip health care workers, doctors, nurses, and others from their conscience rights on gender surgeries and abortions. And yes, the site admitted, it will force teachers and students to "publicly pretend that a biological male is female."

On those grounds alone, Americans should be very concerned about the possibility of this bill becoming law. On the question of whether the Equality Act is the most dangerous piece of anti-freedom, pro-LGBT legislation ever considered by Congress, our rating is TRUE.