House Passes ‘Equality Act’ To End Legal Recognition Of Biological Sex — Critics Describe It As “The Greatest Threat To Religious Freedom”
The Democrat-led House passed a controversial “Equality Act to End Legal Recognition of Biological Sex Equality Act” that will effectively drop the legal definition of biological sex in what liberals say is a bid to promote “gender equality” and ban sex-based discrimination.
The proposed measure was passed as lawmakers voted largely along party lines 224-206 — all Democrats voting for the proposal, joined by three Republicans: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania), New York’s John Katko and Tom Reed.
House approves the the Equality Act, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, 224-206.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 25, 2021
The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law “to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics,” The Associated Press reported. The said “protections” would apply to various components like employment, housing, loan applications, education, and public accommodations, among others.
“The LGBT community has waited long enough. The time has come to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans regardless of who they are and who they love,” the bill co-sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline (Indiana), who is herself gay, said ahead of Thursday’s vote.
Republicans and religious groups widely opposed the proposal — raising concerns about the measure’s potential impact on a wide array of social issues including how the bill would likely step-into others’ religious beliefs.
Critics also argued that it would put faith-based adoption agencies — which seek to place children with a married mother and father — in jeopardy. They said private schools would also be prompted to hire staff “whose conduct violates tenets of the school’s faith.”
Republicans double down on “Equality Act”
GOP lawmakers said ultimately, the Democrat-backed proposal will allow transgender youth to participate in girls’ sports — putting women girls at a disadvantage in a sport that they should be encouraged to excel.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas), who voted against the proposal said the bill attacks religious freedom of Americans.
“What this bill, the so-called Equality Act, is really about, it’s not about giving rights, this is about taking away rights. This is saying that part of the First Amendment that states, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;’ that’s gotta go!”
Rep. Mike Johnson (Louisiana) said the measure is “an attack” on first freedom. “This is unprecedented. It’s dangerous. It’s an attack on our first freedom, the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights, religious liberty.”
The Democrat-controlled House already approved the same measure in 2019 — but failed to pass the Senate. At least 60 senators would have to vote in favor of the measure to bypass a legislative filibuster.
As early as June 2019, Biden already said the “Equality Act” is one of his top priorities as president.
“The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law,” he said then.
“Greatest threat to religious freedom”
“Religious liberty in America, slowly eroding for years, now faces its greatest threat in a generation,” the pastor of the Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia said.
“The so-called ‘Equality Act’ threatens the 1st Amendment and freedom of religion on a scale we haven’t seen in decades. It forces churches, synagogues, mosques — and other religious organizations like Christian colleges and universities — to recognize ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’ as legally protected classifications despite how those lifestyles might conflict with deeply held religious beliefs,” he added.
The Senior pastor went on to say that the passage of the “Equality Act” (H.R.5) by the House on February 25 inches the bill closer to becoming a law “pending Senate approval and the near-certain signature of President Biden.”
“It is the most dangerous piece of legislation in our lifetime concerning religious freedom … Religious freedom will become a legal battle to maintain rather than a legal right to be enjoyed,” Pastor Hamrick wrote.
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