Just days before the midterm elections, now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed from Harvard University to make passing the “Equality Act” one of her top legislative priorities — and she wasn’t bluffing.
The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to advance the deceptively named “Equality Act,” which, according to the conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, “gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment.”
If the proposal is approved — which isn’t out of the question, given it has 240 co-sponsors — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act would both be amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding and the jury system.
The bill would, among a whole host of other things, reverse the Trump administration’s effort to protect employers who object to covering abortion services on religious grounds, a shift away from a controversial policy advanced by the Obama White House.
It would also put the president’s ban on transgender troops in jeopardy. The law could potentially be used to force the U.S. military to foot the bill for gender reassignment surgeries.
If passed, the legislation would bar people like cake baker Jack Phillips from refusing to provide goods or services that go against their religious convictions on issues like the definition of marriage and sexual orientation.
This trend is not new, but it seems to be picking up speed.
Pete Buttigieg, a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has addressed his sexual orientation often, targeting Vice President Mike Pence over his religious opposition to same-sex marriage.
Though the vice president has never once taken issue with Buttigieg or even addressed his sexual orientation publicly, Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in April, “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, then your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg, who is Episcopalian, also suggested Pence “stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump.”
All of this — both Buttigieg’s comments and the Equality Act — goes back to our society’s issue with tolerance.
In denying morality, and now even giving up on reality by allowing people to identify in whatever way they see fit, we are kissing tolerance goodbye. By arguing there is no difference between race and sexual and gender identity, the Equality Act delegitimizes those who hold to a mainstream biblical understanding of marriage as well as what it means to be male and female.
For those who hold to a mainstream Christian interpretation of Scripture, marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman, and in Genesis, it was clear God created two distinct sexes: male and female.
The Equality Act, though, would effectively trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, preventing people and organizations from using the 1993 bill as a protection against claims of discrimination.
A floor vote in the House could come as early as next week.