The deceptively named Equality Act passed 224-206 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, with three Republicans joining the Democrat majority to vote in favor of the bill.
This is the second time the bill has passed in the House. The 2019 version of the bill passed through the lower chamber 236-173 on May 17, 2019. Fortunately, it stalled in the GOP-led Senate and never made it to the floor for a vote.
Democrats reintroduced the bill on Feb. 18, hoping for a win in both the House and Senate this time under a new administration. But at least 60 senators would have to vote in favor of the measure to bypass a legislative filibuster.
If passed in the Senate, President Biden has long promised to sign it. The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories in the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, while also stripping away key religious liberty provisions and conscience protections in the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“This is a pivotal time for our nation,” Franklin Graham said in an email Wednesday evening. “The impact of this legislation is immense. We must not remain silent and accept what we know is wrong.”
Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, says the Equality Act would bring us “one step closer to a dystopian nightmare where Americans of all faiths and no faith will be forced to agree with government-imposed ideology or be treated as an outlaw.
“At the same time, this legislation erases the gains and protections for girls and women in our nation,” she added. “No law should eliminate privacy and safety in intimate spaces or demolish fair competitions in the name of political correctness.
“Even more troubling is the far-ranging impact this bill would have on Americans’ way of life. This will upend our constitutional freedoms, instill destructive gender ideologies in schools, politicize medicine, open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions and decimate parental rights.
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) had voted for the 2019 version of the bill but told The Hill that the current version of the Equality Act has “severe flaws.”
“House Democratic leadership had ample time to make … changes, but sadly, they ignored multiple good faith efforts by my colleagues and instead doubled down on some of the most troubling issues, including sabotaging religious freedom,” he said. “Despite its name and promise to eliminate discrimination, what the bill actually does is discriminate against mosques, churches and religious organizations for their deeply held religious beliefs.”
As the Equality Act now heads to the Senate, Franklin encourages all Christians to take action: “It is imperative that we pray and let our senators and President Biden know that you do not support the Equality Act and that you are asking them to vote NO.”
To contact your senators, visit Senate.gov.
To contact the White House, visit WhiteHouse.gov.
Above: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined by Democratic colleagues, speaks about the Equality Act, Thursday, Feb. 25.
Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin