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Equality Act – An Assault on Free Speech And Religious Freedom

Equality Act – An Assault on Free Speech And Religious Freedom

The Equality Act, an equal rights law that is to bring protection to the LGBTQ community, but is it all that it is being presented as, or is it something far more sinister?

I am a firm believer that all Americans, regardless of their race, religion, sexual identity, or political affiliation, have a right to the “pursuit of happiness,” something the constitution promised to all of us. But I need to clarify what this pursuit of happiness is; it is your right to live your life within acceptable applications within society. It does not give you the right to force others their leave their path for happiness to appease you.

The problem with this Equality Act and other Trans agendas are they are not only interested in seeking their own rights; they demand that we give in to their demands, thus ignoring the right of every American to pursue their happiness and live their life in a way that is best for them. We are being told with this bill that we have to accept that the Trans life is acceptable, regardless of what your faith teaches you. If you dare speak out against this demand, they then want you labeled a bigot and use the law against you.

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We have seen this in Canada, in England, and much of Europe; that is why this community is demanding to come to America. In England, pastors are arrested for daring to say that the scriptures they follow say homosexuality is a sin. If you are part of a church and will not accept the alternative lifestyle in its teachings, the government will shut down your church. It has gotten so bad that if you are part of a bible believing church, or a Synagogue that believes in the teachings of the Torah, and you are a pastor or rabbi in this church, and say that you will not marry gay couples, they now force you to get a preacher or Rabbi that will, or they will close your place of worship.

To dig a little deeper into the bill, we have to look at what the bill is supporting.

This act would explicitly enshrine those nondiscrimination protections into law for sexual orientation and gender identity, rather than those protections being looped in under the umbrella of “sex.” However, the Equality Act would also substantially expand those protections.

The Civil Rights Act covered discrimination in certain areas, like employment and housing. The Equality Act would expand that to cover federally funded programs and “public accommodations” — a broad category including retail stores and stadiums, for example.

(“Public accommodations” is also a category that the bill broadens to include online retailers and transportation providers, for example. Because of that, many types of discrimination the Civil Rights Act currently prohibits — like racial or religious discrimination — would now also be explicitly covered at those types of establishments.)

One upshot of all of this, then, is that the Equality Act would affect businesses like flower shops and bakeries that have been at the center of discrimination court cases in recent years — for example, a baker who doesn’t want to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The bill also explicitly says that it trumps the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (commonly known by its acronym RFRA). The law, passed in 1993, set a higher bar for the government to defend laws if people argued those laws infringed upon religious freedom.

Under the Equality Act, an entity couldn’t use RFRA to challenge the act’s provisions, nor could it use RFRA to defend a claim made under the act.

In other words, if your faith says that homosexuality is a sin, you are barred from telling pastors, members of the staff of the church that they can no longer work or preach in the church because their lifestyle is at odds with what the Bible stands for. It is the same way with an orthodox Jew or an Islamic mosque; although I think the government would be far less likely to apply this towards a mosque than the other two, recent history has shown us this.

While we have no issue with people living their life as they wish, we have a huge issue with trying to force others to accept this lifestyle. Regardless of what faith it is, infringement on religious liberties is a line crossed that we can’t in good consciousness support.

With 60 votes needed in the Senate to make this bill into law, at most 5 or 6 GOP Senators have said they do support this; it does not look like the 60 votes are currently in position for this bill in the Senate.

Democrats in the Senate broadly support the bill. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, among the most moderate Democratic senators, signed a letter supporting it last year.

But the bill would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins cosponsored the bill in 2019, but not all of her fellow, more moderate Republicans are on board. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, for example, told the Washington Blade that he wouldn’t support the act, citing religious liberty.

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“Sen. Romney believes that strong religious liberty protections are essential to any legislation on this issue, and since those provisions are absent from this particular bill, he is not able to support it,” his spokesperson told the Blade.

It’s uncertain how other moderate Republicans might vote. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who supported the narrower Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) in 2013, has yet to respond to questions about her support of the Equality Act.

And while Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who likewise supported ENDA, didn’t give a definitive answer on his support, his response made it clear that he could object to it on religious grounds.

“Rob opposes discrimination of any kind, and he also believes that it’s important that Congress does not undermine protections for religious freedom,” his office said in a statement. “He will review any legislation when and if it comes up for a vote in the Senate.”

At this point, and the way the bill is written, so long as the first amendment is under attack, religious freedom is seen as secondary to this bill, there is no way we, at 0censor, can support this bill.

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