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The Dangerous Inequalities Of The “Equality Act”

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2021 2:27 pm

The Dangerous Inequalities Of The “Equality Act”

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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March 22, 2021 2:27 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, we’re bringing you a re-air of a show from June of 2019, featuring Family Research Council attorney Mary Beth Waddell. Waddell discusses the dangers of the so-called “Equality Act,” which is once again before the U.S. Senate after passing the U.S. House of Representatives, just as it did in 2019.

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It guts women's rights and equality, politicizes the medical community, is radically pro-abortion, extremely hostile to people of faith, could erode parental rights, and the list goes on.

Thank you for joining us for this week's edition of Family Policy Matters. An innocuous sounding bill that would massively overhaul our federal civil rights framework is making its way through the United States Congress. The so-called Equality Act, which has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, could have far-reaching implications for all Americans across our nation, especially those of us who seek to live out our faith not only at home but also in the public square.

Passage of the Equality Act would be historic because it would represent the first time in history that the classifications of sexual orientation and gender identity would be elevated to protected status under federal civil rights laws on the same tier as race, age, sex, and national origin. Today I'm joined by Mary Beth Waddell, who is senior legislative assistant for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. At FRC, Mary Beth works with legislators and federal agencies on issues relating to the family and religious liberty. Mary Beth has followed the federal Equality Act very closely and has analyzed its potential impacts on individuals, families, and communities across our nation, and we're excited to speak with her about that today. Mary Beth, welcome to Family Policy Matters. It's great to have you on the show. Thank you for having me.

It's great to be here. So Mary Beth, what spurred the idea of the so-called Equality Act? Is this a new idea or has it been around for a while?

It's been around for a few years. They've been trying to pass the bill. As you mentioned earlier, it has a wonderful innocuous name, you know, who opposes equality, right?

Right. So the reality of the bill isn't about equality. It isn't a response to mass unjust discrimination against the LGBT community. If you look at what the bill actually says and does, it makes it clear that the real purpose is for the government to require acceptance of an ideology about sexual ethics and identity. So what are some of the big picture changes that this legislation proposes to make to American law?

We've already hit on that as well. The Equality Act is a massive bill. It would overhaul our federal civil rights framework by making nearly 60 amendments to nearly 10 different civil rights laws, enshrining special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers public accommodations, which traditionally understood to be things like hotels, restaurants, storefronts, etc. And currently, race, color, national origin and religion are what's covered in its non-discrimination clause. The Equality Act would add sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, to that list and then expand the definition of a public accommodation to include just about any person or place that offers a good service or program. You're talking massive overhaul. First of all, let me ask, is sexual orientation and gender identity as terms actually defined in the proposal?

Not very well. Particularly gender identity is just whatever the person claims. I can claim to be a woman and claim to be a man.

It's all about self-identification, and that's it. I'm an attorney, and this is a litigation magnet. It is nothing but inviting litigation. So what aspects of the so-called Equality Act most concern you?

Well, that's a very long list. The bill has a number of really alarming concerns. It guts women's rights and equality. It politicizes the medical community. It's radically pro-abortion.

It's extremely hostile to people of faith. It could erode parental rights. It could lead to highly inappropriate sexual education and history lessons being taught in schools.

And the list goes on. I do want to drill down into a couple of those areas specifically, if you would, just to help us understand. So what impact, for example, would the Equality Act have on the activities of religious organizations? Not only churches, but other organizations that have a faith statement as the basis of the work that they do.

It could affect all of those different entities that you just mentioned. It expressly does away or exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is our flagship religious liberty law that was passed with nearly unanimous support and signed into law by President Clinton in, I believe, 93 or 94. And it is what was used as a defense by the Little Sisters of the Poor, you know, when they were sued for not providing contraceptives.

And if the listeners are familiar with Jack Phillips in the masterpiece case, that was the defense in that case that he won. And so that defense would be completely eradicated in any instance where the Equality Act is involved. The thing about RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is it's a balancing test. It doesn't say that the religious practice, the religious belief will always win. It says we're going to weigh what is the government doing? What is the burden that it's placing on religious practice? And we're going to evaluate that and see if this is an undue burden.

The weight is being put on the scales to say nope, government action is fine. Some houses of worship could be barred from ensuring that their leaders and employers abide by their beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, distinctions between the sexes. Women who identify as men would have to be accepted as men, therefore being potentially eligible to serve in positions reserved for men like a Catholic priest or a Jewish rabbi. Religious employers could be forced to offer insurance coverage for medical procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery related to gender transition that violate their beliefs or convictions. Religious charities could face closure or either compromising their faith. And some level of the sexual orientation and gender identity privileges would be mandated on almost every school in the country, including religious private universities.

Wow, that's quite extensive. Now, what about the issues of personal privacy and parental rights? How would the bill affect these areas? Women would no longer have privacy in public.

Bathrooms, gym showers, gym lockers, etc. would all be open to men, including in schools. Battered women's shelters, where women seek healing for their emotional and physical scars from having been abused by a man, would be open to men. This in particular is why we've actually been working with radical leftist lesbian feminists to oppose this bill because they understand the dangers of these outcomes and are vehemently opposed to the bill. You know, it's interesting the coalitions that you can make as to parental rights. With the politicization of the medical industry and it becoming harder and harder to oppose radical and harmful treatment, quote unquote, for gender dysphoria, parents' hands could become tied more and more regarding their children's medical care. In Ohio, a couple lost custody of their teenage daughter because they didn't want to pursue hormone treatment.

The girl's doctors got child protective services involved and she was eventually placed in her grandparents' care. Many schools are already creating sexual education programs that parents are both unaware of and have no option of opting their kids out of. And history lessons could also begin to change to include sexual ideology. Neither one of those would the curriculum or direct mandate of the Equality Act. But when the Civil Rights Act, which is being amended, was passed, courts required black history curriculum to be taught in schools, which, you know, is a good thing.

But the whole purpose of this agenda is to try and equate sexual orientation and gender identity with race, which they're completely distinctly different. So judges could make the same determination and require LGBT lessons to be taught in schools and parents would have very little recourse. Many schools, like all the bathrooms at schools, would have to be basically co-ed, you know, that both men and women would be allowed to go in them. You would have that the sports would now be co-ed.

You'd have men that are allowed to play women's sports. Just in Decatur, Georgia, whenever you had the Obama administration, their Department of Education and Department of Justice put out the letter to the schools, sort of threatening them with their federal funding if they didn't basically open their bathrooms. So most schools open their bathrooms. And a five-year-old little girl in Decatur, Georgia, was sexually assaulted in her bathroom by a male classmate. And that's still a litigation.

Nothing's really been done about that. The mother of this child, you know, has been out there beating the drum of what happened to her daughter. And the school actually sued the mother as if she was the problem here.

And she's trying to protect her child. You're listening to Family Policy Matters, a weekly radio show and podcast of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. This is just one of the many ways NC Family works to educate and inform citizens across North Carolina about policy issues that impact North Carolina families. Our vision is to create a state and nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. For more information about NC Family and how you can help us to achieve this incredible vision for our state and nation, visit our website at ncfamily.org. Again, that's ncfamily.org. And be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts, and of course our flagship publication, Family North Carolina Magazine.

We'd also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Well, I know in a number of cases actually where the schools have tried to make reasonable accommodations to allow a transgender identifying student to use a staff bathroom, just a single use or single person bathroom during the day, as opposed to disrupting all of the other students by having a male go into the girl's bathroom or something of that nature. And that was not sufficient enough from the standpoint of the transgender identifying student and the parents or family of that student. And it really begs the question, are the proponents of this bill, are they really seeking true equality or are they really seeking to impose and use the power of the government to impose acceptance of these lifestyle and behavioral choices? That is the whole purpose, the true purpose of this bill. You know, there is a real push to close down faith-based adoption providers, which has been harmful to children. Like we've seen in Illinois, when Catholic Charities was kicked out, nearly 3000 children were displaced and it's really, really sad to see.

Yeah. Well, we definitely need to stay vigilant, as you said, not only on the national level, but also on the state level in states across the country, especially in states like North Carolina, where these classifications, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression are not currently recognized as civil rights status classifications in our statutes. So we continue to fight to defend our state against those types of things. But it's incredibly important that folks get active and involved and remain very aware of what's happening. And speaking of remaining aware and being active and engaged, Mary Beth, how can folks, our listeners learn more about the Equality Act and follow its progress in Congress and also take positive steps to ensure that this very harmful legislation is not enacted into law?

Reach out to your members. You know, those members that voted for it, let them know that you're not happy with them. Those that voted against it, tell them thank you. You know, so many times when members are there for a fight and they stand for the right thing, you know, we're just like, we don't give enough thanks, you know. So just make sure that they know that, hey, we really appreciate you doing this. And, you know, talk to Senator Tillis, talk to Senator Burr and say, we do not want this, you know, to be the law of the land. We do not want you to support this or any other similar legislation. Like, contact your Congressman and your Senators, absolutely. I mean, you're the ones that put them there. They care about what you think. You can go to our website, frc.org.

You'll have Washington Watch or Washington updates that Tony will put on. He does his radio show that he's talked about the Equality Act a number of times and done update stories on the Equality Act a number of times. You can look me up on the website.

I've got, you know, some publications that I've written about it for people to learn more. Well, great, Mary Beth. Thank you so much. And we appreciate so much the great work that Tony Perkins and Family Research Council and you do not only on issues like the so-called Equality Act, but on so many other things that our representatives in Congress are considering and acting upon. It's so important that people's voices are heard and you all are a great voice for us in our nation's capital.

And we're extremely grateful for that. So, folks, please visit the FRC website at www.frc.org. Again, that's frc.org. And to easily send correspondence to our congressional delegation in North Carolina, you can visit our website at ncfamily.org.

Again, that's ncfamily.org. And visit our Action Center where you can easily contact our members of Congress and encourage them to do the right thing on the Equality Act and other pieces of legislation that they're considering. And with that, Mary Beth Waddell, I want to thank you so much for being with us on Family Policy Matters. And we're so grateful for the excellent work that you and FRC does on our behalf. So, keep up the great work. God bless you and look forward to speaking with you again soon. You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week to listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina, go to our website at ncfamily.org. That's ncfamily.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 21:59:48 / 2023-12-12 22:05:36 / 6

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