House Passes “Equality Act”

May 17, 2019

The U.S. House passed 236-173 HR 5, misnamed the “Equality Act,” with eight Republicans voting in favor and no Democrats voting against it. The eight Republicans are: Susan Brooks (IN-05); Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01); Elise Stefanik (NY-21); Greg Walden (OR-02); John Katko (NY-24); Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25); Tom Reed (NY-23); and Will Hurd (TX-23).

HR 5 takes the unpreceded step of eliminating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as a claim or defense to the application of many federal laws. This bill drastically alters religious freedom in all cases, not just those involving LGBT. It elevates LGBT to the same level as race, and federalizes abortion and abortion funding. The bill now goes to the Senate as S. 788

This “Equality Act” extends federal protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy, i.e. abortion. HR 5 applies to employment, housing, rental, public accommodation, and more. In addition, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” will be defined to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” In other words, under the terms of this bill, “pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition... shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.” The “Equality Act” also expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.”

“No one who voted for the misnamed ‘Equality Act’ deserves to serve in Congress,” said Mat Staver.

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