By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 26, 2020
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” wrote George Orwell in Animal Farm. His allegory was an attack on Stalin, but the sentiment can be applied to the misguided push for SOGI laws in the U.S., the most notable of which is the federal Equality Act passed by the House last year and brought before the Senate last week.
The Equality Act would make Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity protected characteristics in existing civil rights law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government. It would also change laws regarding public spaces, services and federally funded programs.
“When people hear the word equality, they want to support it because no one should be treated less than equal, but what we must understand is that SOGI laws are not about making people equal. They are about banning disagreement on LGBTQ issues. Rather than protecting equality before the law, they grant special privileges that are enforceable against private individuals,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“We’ve seen this over and again where laws of this kind were enacted, and they intimidate, threaten, bully and penalize bakers, florists, photographers, adoption agencies, schools, etc., not because these people want to discriminate against anybody from the LGBTQ community. Instead, they are simply abiding by their religious or moral convictions.”
“It is a form of tyranny for the government to force people to live and work in public or private ways which are contrary to their consciences. Moreover, ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity’ is not based on any objective, verifiable trait, but purely subjective identities,” Creech added.
Similarly, the Heritage Foundation has warned that the Equality Act would jeopardize fundamental freedoms.
“Activists have wielded these laws as swords to punish those who dissent from new cultural orthodoxies — thereby distorting the original intent of civil rights laws. The U.S. Congress should be protecting Americans’ fundamental freedoms as detailed in the Constitution, not placing them in jeopardy,” wrote Monica Burke in a Foundation report on the proposed law.
The Equality Act would violate fundamental freedoms of women and girls, parents, schools and churches.
Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, gives a few examples of how the act would harm each group:
Women and Girls
Men would be allowed in ladies’ bathrooms, changing rooms and showers. Title IX provisions that established women’s sports will now be wiped away, allowing men to compete directly against women on all levels of school sports.
If parents refuse to provide sex-change surgeries and hormones to a minor child who is suffering from gender dysphoria, this could be considered “child abuse” for which the child could be removed from the home.
Schools and Churches
Religious institutions, including schools and churches, could be forced to hire and promote gender-confused and cross-dressing individuals. Staff and students in the education system could be forced to use newly invented pronouns like “xe, xem and xers” instead of “he, him and his.”
The law would also impact healthcare and businesses.
Hospitals and insurers could be forced to provide controversial sex-change therapies against moral or medical objections. Already Catholic hospitals have been sued for declining to perform hysterectomies on otherwise healthy women who want to become male.
The Equality Act could force employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms or lose their livelihoods and jobs. The firing of a high school teacher in Virginia is a prime example. After a girl decided she was really a boy, Peter Vlaming began using the student’s new name but refrained from using pronouns altogether in the student’s presence to avoid violating his personal belief that God created human beings male and female.
Another aspect of the Equality Act that makes it even more egregious than the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock ruling is that it would repeal the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 1993 legislation that has been heralded as a safe harbor of sorts for the faith community. That law prohibits the government from “substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person furthers a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
Religious liberty scholar Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia told National Review that the Equality Act “goes very far to stamp out religious exemptions… . It regulates religious non-profits. And then it says that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] does not apply to any claim under the Equality Act. This would be the first time Congress has limited the reach of RFRA. This is not a good-faith attempt to reconcile competing interests. It is an attempt by one side to grab all the disputed territory and to crush the other side.”
Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, summed up the dangers of the Equality Act this way:
“Emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s problematic decision Monday (June 15), some activists want to con Americans into believing that disagreement on important matters such as marriage and human sexuality is a form of discrimination that requires the government to enforce one view over another, but that is antithetical to a free society.”
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) late last week tried to use the Unanimous Consent rule to push the Equality Act through the Senate, but a handful of senators rose in opposition. That means that opponents to the act must be present from gavel to gavel at every Senate session from now through December, because the minute they are not supporters can use this end-run to get the act into law.
“We must let our U.S. Senators know how important it is to show up and stand up for religious liberty and in opposition to this legislation,” said the Rev. Creech. “They must be vigilant, and so should we.”
Reach out today to urge your Senator to stand against the Equality Act.