WASHINGTON | April 9, 2019
Democrats’ bill, H.R. 5, the Equality Act,
is named in such a way to imply that the legislation advocates for all people. In fact, this legislation replaced inherent religious liberties with identity politics.
“[A]s I look at H.R. 5 and learn more about what’s in the bill, I’m deeply troubled, and I believe most Americans would be deeply troubled, by what’s really there. This bill is following in the tradition of others we have seen so far throughout Congress. A clever name, an allegedly noble purpose, but a vehicle for serious, harmful consequences,” Rep. James Comer (R-KY), said in his opening statement in a subcommittee hearing on the legislation.
H.R. 5 effectively guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
(RFRA), with section 9 of the bill stating that the RFRA will not serve as a defense to a claim under H.R. 5. The RFRA, which was sponsored by then-Representative Schumer and Senator Kennedy and signed into law by President Clinton, defends the free exercise of religion.
“H.R.5 does not seem to recognize the purposes of RFRA insofar as it effectively strikes RFRA in consideration of all of the provisions of H.R. 5,” Mr. Lawrence Lorber, Counsel for Seyfarth Shaw LLP, testified.
The legislation, which alters federal nondiscrimination law to prohibit discrimination based on a “perception or belief, even if inaccurate,” would impose significant and sweeping unintended consequences that are impossible to anticipate. Replacing scientific biological sex with a vague and amorphous gender identity standard places a severe burden on schools and employers who may struggle to comply with new requirements in H.R. 5.
“While gender identity may be viewed as a manifestation of an individual’s sexual orientation as set forth in section 1101(a)(5), gender-identity, as defined in the bill does not seem to relate to any discernable innate characteristic or sexual orientation. Rather, as used in section (a)(2) it appears to relate to actions or representations of an individual perhaps related to sexual orientation or perhaps not . . . The discussion of gender identity leads to a much larger issue with respect to implications H.R. 5 would have with respect to employment law and the obligations of employers to comply with the law and the notice to the members of the newly created protected class to understand their rights,” Mr. Lorber explained.
H.R. 5 does nothing to provide real equality and sacrifices individual freedoms in the name of identity politics.
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