U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-IL) introduced the Equality Act of 2019 on Wednesday with 239 co-sponsors.
The Equality Act, first introduced in 2015, would amend virtually all current federal laws covering employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.
The Equality Act also expands the scope of what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 considers “public accommodation” to include almost any business that serves the public.
“It is past time for the Equality Act to be written into law,” Cicilline said. “Democrats are committed to delivering results for the people, and that means all the people. No American should ever be treated as less than equal in the eyes of the law. I’m looking forward to getting this bill through the House this spring. Senator McConnell should take it up without delay.”
Passing the Equality Act is one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top priorities for the 116th Congress.
Here are five reasons Congress should reject The Equality Act.
1. The Equality Act is not needed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed as a response to widespread discrimination against the black community through Jim Crow laws on the books in states and cities throughout the South.
When have LGBT people experienced systemic discrimination, approved by states, that led to those laws?
Have they experienced episodes of discrimination by different individuals? Certainly. Is their experience today rife with examples of segregation and disenfranchisement?
No. Why? For starters, unless they disclose their sexual orientation at a restaurant, during a job interview, when applying for credit, etc. no one knows.
Secondly, we, as a society, have grown. The prejudice of the past is frowned upon in the present.
So where is the evidence of someone who identifies as LGBT denied accommodation from a major restaurant or hotel chain? Where is the proof of a significant employer refusing to hire or firing someone based on identifying as LGBT?
In fact, according to the Human Rights Campaign, 91 percent of the Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination by sexual orientation, and 83 percent prohibit discrimination by gender identity.
Blacks experienced systemic discrimination in the South for generations, and as a result, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. LGBT persons can’t say the same and they especially can not point to any examples today.
2. The Equality Act is not viewpoint neutral.
The Equality Act, and SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity) laws like it, hinder the ability of Americans to live in such a way that is consistent with their values.
The Equality Act is not viewpoint neutral. By adding sexual orientation and gender orientation to the Civil Rights Act and similar federal law the government is, in essence, telling many Americans that their beliefs are discriminatory.
Historically, SOGI laws have been unfairly used to target people who hold unpopular beliefs such as marriage is between one man and one woman.
They also target commonly held beliefs backed by science such as a person can not change their biological sex and a person believing they are the opposite sex does not make it so.
What the Equality Act would do in reality is to give LGBT persons special privileges at the expense of the liberty of others.
Also, the Equality Act is designed to shrink religious liberty protections provided in federal law. In section 9 of the 2017 version of the bill we read, “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a title.”
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton (D) did not allow discrimination. It provided a legal resource for people of faith who are under compulsion by the federal government to act in a way that would violate their religious beliefs or personal conscience.
3. The Equality Act invades the privacy rights of Americans.
The Equality Act violates the privacy and safety of all Americans, and transgender status is not dependent upon a sex change surgery or a transition period.
Any public accommodation that offers sex-segregated facilities whether they are restrooms, locker rooms, or changing rooms will have to allow access to those facilities transgender persons regardless of their biological sex.
One high school student from Pennsylvania spoke out when her school allowed boys who identified as girls to use the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms:
Not only does The Equality Act violate girls’ privacy, but it also their safety. Recently, a man in the United Kingdom who identified as a female gained access to the women’s restroom and proceeded to assault a 10-year-old girl. Last fall, a transgender policy at a school in Georgia led to the assault of a kindergarten girl while using the girls’ bathroom.
4. The Equality Act is unfair to women.
Not only do women face an invasion of their privacy, but they also will (and have) experienced an invasion of their sports, as well as, services designed for them.
In February, The Daily Caller reported that Franklin Pierce University senior CeCe Telfer leads the NCAA’s Division II women’s division in the 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdle events. Last year, CeCe competed as a man.
A biological man who identifies as a woman won the women’s cycling championship last fall sparking outrage.
Former women’s tennis star Martina Navratilova, a lesbian activist, called this trend for what it is – cheating.
Sports is not even the worst of it. In Alaska, trans activists have targeted a shelter for battered women.
5. The Equality Act undermines parental rights.
There are two primary areas of concern for parents in The Equality Act.
First, The Equality Act includes public schools. Passage of this bill means sexual orientation and gender identity become protected classes in public schools nationwide whether or not your state has adopted a SOGI law.
The obvious implication of this is that you, as a parent with a student in public schools, do not have a say nor can control who has access to your student’s restroom, locker room, sports team, or even overnight accommodations for school trips. Under this bill, Transgender students must be allowed access to the restrooms, locker rooms, sports teams, and overnight accommodations based upon their gender identity.
We know this will be a problem because it has already been a problem with state-level SOGI laws and when the Obama Administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter to public schools reinterpreting Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Also, many parents who are unable to send their students to private school or homeschool would be unable to provide an education that does not conflict with their religious and moral beliefs or even a proper understanding of biology.
Even private schools are not exempt if they accept any federal funding.
SOGI laws will have a trickle-down effect into sexual education curriculum at schools, and those who dissent will be at odds with federal law and school policy.
Second, custody rights could be in jeopardy as health care facilities, under The Equality Act, fall under public accommodations. This change could politicize medicine and place medical professionals at odds with parents with children who struggle with gender dysphoria.
In 2018, an Ohio judge took a transgender teen from her parents because they refused to allow the 17-year-old to undergo hormone treatments as part of a female-to-male transition.
When the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Transgender Health Clinic recommended hormone therapy and the parents refused, the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services intervened and sought to give the teen’s grandparents, who already had temporary custody, full custody citing neglect.
This bill will encourage transgender activists and pro-trans physicians to push parents out of the decision-making process.