Last month, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives successfully passed the progressive Equality Act, otherwise known as H.R.5, for the second time after it was originally blocked by then Republican-majority Senate in 2019.
If signed into law, the Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 according to The Heritage Foundation.
What Does The Equality Act Propose?
The real question here is - what does it not propose?
Section 3(4) of the Act expands governmental protections for these classifications to “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency, or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting, or legal services.”
Essentially, the Equality Act overrules the idea that private businesses, churches, public services, etc., can refuse service to a person based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Implications in Society
For example, Section 4 would allow "trans women" (biological males) to use public restrooms intended for biological females. This opens the door to predatory men to use women's restrooms to creep on and/or prey on young women. The men could easily claim they are a "trans woman" to anyone who challenges them.
But, it doesn't stop there.
Biological males would not only be allowed to use women's bathrooms, but also, locker rooms, women's shelters, and basically anywhere else that would be previously limited to biological females. "An individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.” Americans would also be forced by law to use a person's preferred pronouns.
Section 5 of the Equality Act could cause public K-12 schools, colleges and universities to teach sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum.
Worse, Section 6 of the Act would allow biological males to compete in women's sports, in accordance with Biden's executive order on day one of his presidency. Biological males who identify as "women" could say their sexual orientation or gender identity is being discriminated against if they are not permitted to compete in women's sports. This would affect sports programs at all different grade levels from K-12 to higher education.
Under Section 7, employees would be allowed to sue their employers if they refuse to cover sex reassignment surgery in their health insurance plans. For religious employers, this could directly conflict with First Amendment objections of private businesses and religious organizations, such as Hobby Lobby, or Little Sisters of the Poor. Furthermore, Section 9 of the Equality Act states the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used as a defense against funding sex reassignment procedures. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was implemented in the 1990s to protect private entities from complying with laws that conflict with their First Amendment rights.
How Would the Equality Act Affect Doctors and Psychologists?
According to a report published by The Heritage Foundation, the Equality Act is so broad and vague that, "Doctors nationwide will not be allowed to treat gender dysphoria according to their own best judgment, and even a referral to another doctor could be a violation of H.R. 5."
Describing the reality medical practitioners would be facing under this law, the report continues, "Transgender advocates recommend puberty blockers for children at age 11, cross-sex hormones at 16, and 'sex-reassignment' surgery at 18. Side effects include sterility, loss of bone density, cognitive decline, and increased risk of cancer."
"Under state SOGI laws, activists have sued hospitals in California and New Jersey for discrimination—because the hospitals’ doctors declined to remove the reproductive organs of healthy patients. SOGI laws would pressure medical professionals to practice such 'medicine' regardless of any scientific or conscience-based objections," The Heritage Foundation warns on the effects of politicizing medicine.
Professional counselors would also be obliged to affirm same-sex marriage and transgender ideology, despite possible objections. Anything short of affirming their desires could be deemed "discrimination".
Religious adoption and foster care agencies would also be compelled to abandon their traditional belief that children should be raised by a heterosexual couple, by being legally forced to place children with same-sex couples. Failure to comply with these demands could result in the permanent closure of those agencies. Not only will adoption and foster care agencies face repercussions, but religious institutions and charities could also be penalized for Biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Pro-life groups have raised alarms that this bill could open the floodgates of abortion through expanding "reproductive rights". The Equality Act would require employers to cover abortions in their health care plans and eliminate religious protections for doctors with medical or religious objections to abortion. Refusing to perform an abortion due to said objections would be considered "pregnancy discrimination".
Violating or refusing to comply with the endless stipulations in the Equality Act could result in six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
In the wise words of Emilie Kao, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, "By empowering the federal government to force radical new definitions of marriage and biological sex on all Americans, H.R. 5 would undermine liberty, equality, privacy, and safety. The Equality Act guarantees anything but equality."
Story by Lala Ramirez
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