The Equality Act: Anti-Woman, Anti-Catholic

Equality Act
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While faithful Catholics are grateful for the statement last week from five of our bishops on the threats posed by the Equality Act, it is a bit too little and much too late. For more than two years, Crisis Magazine has been sounding the alarm about the threats posed by the Equality Act that was just passed last week by the House of Representatives with a 224-206 vote. Warned that the Act threatened the civil rights of women and all people of faith, Crisis readers understood that the Equality Act would not only destroy equality for women who are not biological males (a contradictory phrase made necessary by today’s ridiculous vocabulary), but it would also remove all protections that the Religious Freedom Act had provided to us in the past.

Crisis authors warned that the provisions of the Equality Act would trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—removing all protections from people of faith and all rights from faith-based institutions to hire and fire employees based on their religious mission. Worse, the Equality Act will mandate what can be taught at faith-based schools—denying students the opportunity to hear the truth on the sacredness of marriage and the dangers posed by postmodern conceptions of gender.

Crisis authors warned that Catholic schools will be heavily regulated by the Biden administration’s use of the Equality Act 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 LGBTQ community. These same schools will be unable to fire any employee, even those who openly denigrate the faith-based mission of these schools, if they claim protection under the Equality Act. Those of us who try to teach the truth of creation and the sanctity of life in our classrooms on faithful Catholic campuses, like my own Franciscan University of Steubenville, will no longer have the protection that had been provided to us in the past. We will be on our own, subject to fines and lawsuits if someone is offended by learning about Catholic teachings on the dignity of the individual—including the pre-born—and the sacredness of God’s creation of a man and a woman.

No one should be surprised by any of this. Then-Democratic-Candidate Biden promised all of it in his campaign. At the same time Candidate Biden was claiming that he was grateful to have been guided by his Catholic faith, he was promising to expand abortion rights and promote transgender rights. On his 2020 campaign website Biden declared: “The Equality Act is the best vehicle for ensuring equal rights under the law for LGBTQ Americans and will guarantee that LGBTQ individuals are protected under civil rights laws.” Beholden to the largesse of campaign donations from the LGBTQ community—especially the billionaires in the transgender community—Democratic lawmakers appear to feel that they have little choice but to support every demand from this community. 

Yet, there were very few Catholic leaders with the courage to sound the alarm on just how dangerous the Biden administration’s promotion of the Equality Act would be for Catholics and all people of faith. More than half of all Catholics voted for President Biden—even though he was promising to eviscerate their religious rights. Few of us in the pews heard anything about the Equality Act from our parish priests, and even fewer of us heard a word about it from our bishops.

All Catholic institutions are at risk now—including Catholic hospitals. The Equality Act will provide the foundation for a revival of the mandate that forced doctors to perform gender transition procedures on adults and children against their medical judgment. And although the courts struck down that Obama-era mandate just last month, we can be sure that President Biden’s administration will use the Equality Act to force doctors, nurses, and therapists to yet again remove conscience protections in order to support gender reassignment procedures on adults, and even young children, if they are requested by the individuals or the parents of young children. All demands for gender reassignment will be honored under the new equality mandate—even when these demands violate the rights of medical personnel who have faith-based objections to such procedures.

Women who are born female will suffer the greatest losses (again, our language fails in light of our cultural insanity). For nearly a century, women’s advocates tried—without success—to add a provision to the Constitution guaranteeing equal rights to women. First introduced to Congress in 1923 by Alice Paul, the pro-life founder of the National Women’s political party and a feminist who believed that abortion was the ultimate exploitation of women, the Equal Rights Amendment was created to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Yet, at the same time that progressive Democrats are attempting to resurrect the ERA, they are allowing women’s sports to be destroyed by allowing biological men to compete against women. In some ways, they are attempting to erase women—destroying all the progress women have made.

In some states, the destruction is already complete. In Connecticut, where biological males are allowed to compete against females in high school sports, two boys have won 15 women’s track championship titles since 2017—titles formerly held by nine different girls in 2016. In an attempt to address this injustice, three female high school track and field competitors filed a federal Title IX Discrimination complaint seeking to block biological male athletes from participating in girls’ sports. The filing complaint alleges that “These competitions have consequences beyond the race itself, and influence scholarship opportunities and college careers.”

And, although the Trump administration agreed with the Connecticut girls, and William Barr signed a statement of interest and support in March 2020 to support the girls’ lawsuit, last week the Biden administration crushed the girls’ attempts to compete on an equal playing field by withdrawing Justice Department support in the case. On February 24, 2021, Biden’s Justice Department told a federal court in Connecticut that it was withdrawing its support for a lawsuit filed by the three girls challenging rules involving transgender student-athletes.

In an attempt to head off the kind of problems female athletes have had in Connecticut, many states have enacted rules to prevent biological males from competing against females. But all of these attempts to protect women—real women, not “declared” women—will fail if the Senate passes the draconian Equality Act. Federal law trumps state policies on civil rights, and in this case, the rights of the transgender community are taking precedence over the rights of women.

The Equality Act should have surprised no one. President Biden ran on a platform that promised all of this. And in the first days of his presidency, his executive orders demonstrated clearly to whom he is beholden. The Equality Act will expand abortion access—under the guise of equality in access to healthcare—and it will likely be paid for by taxpayers. Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood was a big player in this election. Buying Biden’s allegiance—and presumably his soul—the Planned Parenthood Action Fund tripled election spending in 2020, pumping more than $45 million into the campaign to help Biden defeat President Donald Trump. This was three times what Planned Parenthood spent in the 2016 presidential election and eight times what it spent in the 2018 congressional races. President Biden has already promised to overturn all of the pro-life policies of the Trump administration and marked the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling establishing the right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade by promising to enshrine abortion rights into federal law.

Transgender activists were also big partners in the Biden deal—and the debt is now being repaid. Billionaires like LGBTQ activist and philanthropist Jon Stryker made six-figure personal campaign donations to Biden, but that is nothing compared with the millions Stryker has pumped into the campaign for transgender rights through his LGBTQ rights NGO, the Arcus Foundation. According to investigative journalist Jennifer Bilek, Arcus deploys millions of philanthropic dollars each year to filter gender identity and transgender ideology into American law through their training of leaders in political activism, political leadership, transgender law, religious liberty, education, and civil rights.

In an article published in 2018 entitled “Who are the Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Transgender Ideology?”, Bilek provides the reasons that President Biden is beholden to the transgender community. Bilek warns that “researchers are already promising that there can be a future where biological women are not needed for reproduction.” The transgender movement—through President Biden—is paving the way for that future. It is no surprise that one of President Biden’s first executive orders was to effectively rebrand the fetish of transsexualism by attempting to normalize it. But in order to do that, President Biden has had to sell out his female supporters by sacrificing female biology and in some ways denying women’s very existence.

It may not be too late. In 2019, the House passed the Equality Act only to be stopped by the Senate. But that was when Republicans held the Senate and President Trump was at the helm.  Those days are gone. Still, it is possible that Senators—even progressive Democrats—will realize that they are destroying women’s rights, and the rights of all people of faith, if they vote in favor of the Equality Act. Catholics and their leaders need to pray first—and then get busy mobilizing their parishioners and lobbying their Senators for protections from an Act that will destroy us.

[Photo Credit: Al Drago/Getty Images]

Anne Hendershott

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Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. She is the author of The Politics of Envy (Crisis Publications, 2020).

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