Much of what is real – gets lost in what it not. With hype aimed at cheers from a slice of the Democrat base, Biden and the House just passed something called the “Equality Act.” What does it do?
It claims to “prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.” Reality is different, suggesting the aim of the bill is different.
Reality: Anti-discrimination laws exist nationwide today. They are embedded in our common law, federal and state statutes barring employment discrimination for “protected categories.” Among these are discrimination based on “sex,” “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an umbrella, offering wide protections based on rulings of the Supreme Court. It bars discrimination in “recruiting, hiring, job evaluations, promotion policies, training, compensation, and disciplinary actions,” and widens the cone from there.
Caselaw assures these protections, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), and Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), the last one barring discrimination for “transgenders.” Read here: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/539/558/; https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf; https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/590/17-1618/.
The point: Prevailing law supports non-discrimination. So, why the new law? What is behind this push? To get truth, step away from emotion. What is anti-discrimination? Putting “equal protection” into practice. Where does it come from? The 5th Amendment – applied to states through the 14th Amendment.
What were the Framers after? They were not thinking “gay” or “transgender” rights, nor even racial equality – although some foresaw it. The principle was to seed in the public mind equal treatment, encouraging citizens to recall that God does not value one life less than another, but all highly. A moral government does the same, encouraging citizens to treat each other that way.
Here is where modern politics gets twisted up, battering another core principle – one deemed essential by the Framers, the individual’s right to religious belief, role of God in the Nation. The “Equality Act” does not just codify. It stretches credulity, making the government an enforcer of subjective norms, redefining what people must think, trampling on religious conviction.
What is religious conviction? The Framers – mostly Christian – thought it was a sacred, individually-arrived-at, life-guiding conviction tied to belief in God, the Creator – sacred. First line, First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Repeat: “no law … prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. Nothing, to the Framers, was more essential.
Given prevailing equal protection and non-discrimination laws on “sexual orientation” and “gender identification,” what is this law? By appearances, an intentional strike at “free exercise” of religion. The law seeks to redefine social norms and displace biology, punishing citizens who do not vow a change in belief, who object on religious grounds – based on the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, Bhagavata Gita, Vedas, Theravada, or Mahayana – to redefining boys as girls and vice versa, for example forcing biological girls to compete in sports against biological boys based on self-identification. To some this seems absurd, to many immoral.
The statute does not fill some gaping hole in equal protection but seems aimed at delegitimizing the constitutional right of free individuals to hold religious convictions unimpaired by the State.
The new law shrinks religious liberty in the name of change. Nub: It adds little to protections against objective unfairness, while using the State’s coercive power to punish individuals unwilling to abandon scripturally sound, life-guiding religious convictions – and biology.
Is that right? Is that what government does? Redefines what is religiously permissible, targeting faith, undermining the seminal premise that freedom of religion is sacrosanct? Think: If that is the role of government, they will soon determine who can get communion and who not, who can be admitted to your church, synagogue, or mosque, whether your place of worship is acting consistent with the Government’s belief about what your belief should be. Is that their role?
Truth is denial of an equal chance to compete and succeed based on how you define yourself sexually is not legal. But taking the next step, forcing religious individuals to change their beliefs, accept subjective redefinitions of biology, alter their lived faith, is also impermissible.
This ugly law is subjective, coercive of religion, and fundamentally unconstitutional. It is an intentional poke at those of faith, to see how far the State can go. With all the problems America faces, this is a patent misuse of time, misconceived, unnecessary, unconstitutional. It is also emblematic of where one-party rule can, left unchecked, take a free people. See, e.g., https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/02/25/standing-up-to-the-intolerant-equality-act/; https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/tyler-o-neil/2021/02/25/6-reasons-to-oppose-the-orwellian-equality-act-n1426843; https://www.washingtonblade.com/2021/02/26/video-jim-jordan-justifies-opposition-to-equality-act-with-log-cabin-statement/; https://dailycaller.com/2021/02/24/equality-act-faces-opposition-republicans-saying-it-favors-politically-fashionable-dogmas/; https://aleteia.org/2021/02/24/bishops-voice-opposition-to-equality-act-as-congress-prepares-to-vote/; https://watermarkonline.com/2021/02/17/romney-declares-opposition-to-lgbtq-equality-act/.