For Joe Biden, Trans People are More Equal Than Others

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Ignoring concerns about the threats to women’s civil rights, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, promises to use the Equality Act to promote a long list of transgender rights that will eclipse women’s rights and the rights of people of faith if he is elected. The misnamed Equality Act, approved by the House of Representatives last year, would include protections for “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the 1964 Civil Rights Act—but it would remove equal protections for women and people of faith—especially Catholics.

Despite this, Biden has pledged to prioritize the passage of the expansion of transgender rights through the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President. Biden’s 2020 campaign website proclaims:

The Equality Act is the best vehicle for ensuring equal rights under the law for LGBTQ+ American and will guarantee that LGBTQ+ individuals are protected under civil rights laws.” Worse, Biden promises to go beyond the Equality Act in expanding transgender rights by using his executive authority to reverse immediately what he calls the “discriminatory actions” against the transgender community that the Trump administration enacted.

One of the “discriminatory actions” that Biden is referring to is the Trump administration’s attempt to protect young female athletes from the unfair encroachment into women’s high school sports by biological males who believe they are female and want to compete as females. President Trump’s Department of Education responded to a complaint filed last year by several Connecticut female track athletes who argued that biological males had an unfair physical advantage. The complaint—which was filed in federal court—sought to block biological male athletes from participating in girls’ sports. The complaint maintained that allowing biological male athletes to compete against girls violates Title IX. Since 2017, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference had allowed biological males who claim a female gender identity to compete without limitation in girls’ athletic competitions. As a result, two male athletes presenting themselves as female have dominated the field, winning 15 women’s track championship titles since 2017—titles formerly held by nine different Connecticut girls in 2016. In all, two boys competing as girls have taken away from girls over 50 chances to advance to next-level races. Biological males in Connecticut now hold 13 individual meet records in the state previously held by 12 different girls.

The Trump administration saw the unfair competition as a “violation of Title IX,” the federal civil rights law that guarantees equal education opportunities for women. The administration responded to the complaint by proclaiming that allowing biological males to compete against biological females “denies female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges.”

The Equality Act would invalidate all states’ attempts to protect women. Unfortunately, the Equality Act has almost unanimous support among Democratic lawmakers and will become law if the Democrats win control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. And, although President Trump has said many times that he opposes the Equality Act, the radical LGBT advocates will never give up in their quest to destroy the equality women have worked for since the earliest days of the women’s rights movement more than a century ago.

The promised Biden Executive Order removing the Trump administration’s protections for female athletes, would also usher in a long list of rights for the transgender community—often at the expense of females. But beyond athletics, Biden’s promised passage of the Equality Act will remove conscience protections for Catholics and other people of faith. Most people do not realize that the Equality Act will trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, limiting the reach of the protections that the Religious Freedom Act provides. Under the Equality Act, Catholic schools will be heavily regulated by the Biden administration with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity. All religious schools will be forced to hire those who do not share the teachings and beliefs of the sponsoring religious school if a lawsuit is brought by the protected “LGBT community.” These same schools will be unable to fire any employee who claims protection under the Equality Act.

For Catholics and all people of faith, the threat from the Equality Act is real and must be defeated. On his campaign website, Biden promises that he will “empower federal agencies to be champions for equality… nominating and appointing federal officials and judges who represent the diversity of American people, including LGBTQ+ people… and he will ensure that we give the agencies charged with enforcing our non-discrimination laws the funds they need to fully pursue this obligation.”

These are not empty threats. Some of us know from personal experience that the Obama-Biden administration was willing to weaponize the IRS and other federal agencies in order to punish their political enemies and please their supporters. A Biden presidency would be a very dark time indeed for women and people of faith.

Photo credit: AFP via Getty Images

Anne Hendershott

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Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

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