Last Thursday, Congress achieved something many thought impossible. The House of Representatives passed legislation that united progressive feminist organizations with evangelicals. The legislation passed was the Equality Act. Christians and women’s rights groups were forged into opposition. Both ideological groups believe the Act is a unconstitutional threat to their core beliefs.
The Equality Act is ill-named. It is not about equality but the imposition of generic LGBTQ ideology as a superior constitutional right to religious freedom or women’s rights. The language of the bill is intended to blur gender identity as specifically set out in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sex as a protected class is replaced or covered with the new definition of sexual orientation and gender identity. By doing this, the specific category of sex is diminished.
By this legislation, religious freedom and the free exercise of one’s faith become marginalized, restricted, and, ultimately threatened. Church organizations, including hospitals and educational institutions, will not be able to hire people based on their core beliefs. An atheist will have a constitutional right not to be rejected for employment at a church-based facility if the Equality Act is passed by the Senate and becomes law. Individual creeds will take precedence over cultural creeds.
Feminists are concerned because gender identity replacing biological sex as a protected category could curtail strides and advancements in women’s rights over the past several decades. This could mean that scholarships in sports or grants and loans for women in business could now be awarded to transgender men. Some fear that the result of the Equality Act would, in fact, be to erase women from society as a category of people protected for equal rights. The scientific biological definition of a man or a woman would become less determinative.
The Act threatens an individual’s right to freedom of speech. The famous cake case, “Masterpiece Cakeshop” in Colorado was litigated under the First Amendment determination of free speech. The baker, Jack Phillips, was open for business to anyone who wanted to buy a cake from general merchandise. However, he reserved the right to create products that were not in violation of his faith. The case was actually resolved on the grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not enforced the law equally among secular businesses and businesses of faith. At issue is freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the free exercise thereof for one’s constitutional rights in commerce. The Equality Act would undermine these First Amendments rights as inferior to LGBTQ rights.
Such cake bakers will be forced to stop baking cakes.
The Equality Act restructures the intent and purpose of our Republic. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” If Congress were to enact this legislation into law, states would be hindered by limited authority in managing education, healthcare, employment, vocational-technical training, and election laws in governing the policy of their states. A critical component of the brilliance of the Constitution was specifically allowing individual states, operating collectively as a Republic, to maintain certain powers for the governing of society as individuals living in those states saw fit.
The Equality Act is therefore not about equal rights at all. It is about forcing a new ideological definition of normalcy onto a public, regardless of their religious, personal, or governmental views. This is not about mainstreaming LGBTQ people. It is about changing or eliminating any other viewpoint or activity in contradiction to their worldview.
The logical extension of the Equality Act philosophically may render unintended consequences. To coin the old phrase “coming to a theater near you soon” is universal drug enforcement, gun control, and redefinition of interstate commerce.
In an effort to redefine gender in society, progressives believe that the end justifies the means. They will always accept the sacrifice of collateral damage to achieve the purpose of ultimate standardization of society, including gender identity. In this case, the collateral damage is the elimination of certain freedoms of the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution begins with the phrase, “We the People,” not “We the government of standardization.” Constitutional Conflicts need not result in the elimination of one group’s rights over another. Certainly not by an act of Congress redefining the powers of the separate branches of government at the expense of the people. If one group’s rights are to become superior over another, it should be accomplished only by constitutional amendment.
The central debate for the Equality Act is incompatible with civil rights. The rights of all minorities and women as a gender are not in conflict constitutionally with other individual’s First Amendment rights.
The Tenth Amendment gives us the answer on what to do in reference to the struggle for power between the branches of government. If the power is not clear, it is reserved to the people.
The Constitution, with all of its amendments, protects distinctive ideologies as the Creator celebrates diversity. Without protection of distinctiveness or respect for diversity, our society will collapse under the oppressive weight of standardization.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?