Conservatives Urge White House to Oppose Democrats’ ‘Equality Act’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about the Equality Act when it was introduced in March.

By Fred Lucas Published on May 13, 2019

Conservative organizations are holding firm against House Democrats’ legislation they say would undermine religious liberty, and some conservatives want the White House to take a stronger stance.

Almost 100 conservative leaders signed onto a statement Friday opposing the Equality Act. (You can read the full statement below.)

Names on the statement from the Conservative Action Project include leaders of the Family Research Council, the March for Life, Heritage Action for America, the Media Research Center, Judicial Watch, and American Values.

Under President Donald Trump, the White House routinely issues a statement of administration policy for various bills — stating whether it would suggest the president sign or veto legislation and why.

In 2019, the White House issued 21 such statements, including support for the Born-Alive Infant Survivors Protection Act, which would impose penalties for killing a newborn baby after a botched abortion; opposition to the sweeping For the People Act to regulate campaign finance; and opposition to the Climate Action Now Act, which would force the U.S. to return to the Paris climate accord.

The White House did not respond as of publication Friday to The Daily Signal’s inquiry on whether it would issue a statement in opposition to the Equality Act, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made a priority.

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“A statement of administration policy is important in this case because this is such an unacceptable piece of legislation,” Travis Weber, vice president of policy for the Family Research Council, told The Daily Signal. “It’s an attack on women. It’s an attack on religious freedom. It’s important that the White House let Congress know this is unacceptable.”

“Silence on this would undercut the president’s other good work he has done supported by the American evangelical community,” Weber said.

The White House likely will eventually make Trump’s position known, said Rachel Bovard, former policy director for the Senate Steering Committee, who signed on to the statement.

“Everything I have heard suggests there will be” a White House statement, Bovard told The Daily Signal. “It’s significant that the White House clearly state it supports equal rights across the board, but this bill undermines rights of women and completely undermines the rights of people of faith.”

The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to characteristics — race, color, religion, sex, and national origin — already protected from discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The Equality Act would also nullify the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton, which prevents the government from encroaching on individuals’ religious liberty, opponents argue.

“This exacerbates already troubling trends which are silencing people of faith and limiting the autonomy of religious organizations,” argues the Conservative Action Project’s statement, which has 97 signators. “The ability of churches, synagogues, and mosques to employ people according to their religious beliefs will be severely limited.”

The statement also says:

Despite its title, the Equality Act actually undermines the rights of women and girls, forcing them to share private facilities with anyone claiming to ‘identify’ as a woman. It also diminishes the ability of women to, quite literally, compete on an equal playing field. Males who identify as women are already beginning to dominate women’s sports and strip female athletes of the opportunity to fairly compete for medals and scholarships.

A clear message from the White House could signal wavering House Republicans to oppose the legislation, said Greg Baylor, senior counsel for government affairs at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group that focuses on religious liberty.

“Politically, it would be a mistake to be silent just because this isn’t going anywhere in the Senate,” Baylor told The Daily Signal. “The more Republicans vote for it in the House, the more that is likely to grow. Democrats play the long game.”

The Conservative Action Project’s statement notes that the Equality Act would affect schools and medical services:

Counselors will be prohibited from helping gender-dysphoric children become comfortable with their own bodies. Medical professionals will be vulnerable to lawsuits if they decline to perform hormonal or medical procedures on patients who identify as transgender.

In public schools, curriculum could teach children that their sex is not a biological reality, but subjectively self-perceived. Ultimately, parents’ rights to educate their own children and seek the best medical treatment for them would be undermined.

In Ohio, a judge terminated a couple’s custody of their 17-year daughter when they disagreed with the recommendations of a gender clinic and county agency that she take testosterone injections.

The statement also called for Congress to oppose adopting the Fairness for All proposal, which is a compromise supported by Christian organizations such as the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that would provide protected status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is not yet a bill in Congress.

“Though the Fairness for All Act attempts to square this circle by providing exclusions for religious institutions, it is an unsuitable substitute, and at best, would amount to only a temporary delay to full enactment of the Equality Act,” the statement from the Conservative Action Project says.

 

Copyright 2019 The Daily Signal

Editor’s Note: Stream publisher James Robison was a signatory on the letter from the Conservative Action Project. What follows is the full text of the letter:

May 10, 2019
Washington, D.C.

Conservatives are united in strong opposition to both the Equality Act and the Fairness for All Act. The titles of these bills belie their consequences, which will undermine parental rights, and the pro-life and conscience rights of medical professionals, make environments inherently unfair, unequal, and unsafe for women and curtail religious freedom for both religious organizations and people of faith.

The Equality Act will elevate transgender theory and “gender-affirming” care to the level of a civil right. Counselors will be prohibited from helping gender-dysphoric children become comfortable with their own bodies. Medical professionals will be vulnerable to lawsuits if they decline to perform hormonal or medical procedures on patients who identify as transgender. In public schools, curriculum could teach children that their sex is not a biological reality, but subjectively self-perceived. Ultimately, parents’ rights to educate their own children and seek the best medical treatment for them would be undermined. In Ohio, a judge terminated a couple’s custody of their 17-year daughter when they disagreed with the recommendations of a gender clinic and county agency that she take testosterone injections.

Despite its title, the Equality Act actually undermines the rights of women and girls, forcing them to share private facilities with anyone claiming to “identify” as a woman. It also diminishes the ability of women to, quite literally, compete on an equal playing field. Males who identify as women are already beginning to dominate women’s sports and strip female athletes of the opportunity to fairly compete for medals and scholarships. This will only increase as colleges, universities, and franchise sports teams begin to prioritize men identifying women above biological women.

The Equality Act explicitly nullifies the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense to a claim under any portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This exacerbates already troubling trends which are silencing people of faith and limiting the autonomy of religious organizations. The ability of churches, synagogues, and mosques to employ people according to their religious beliefs will be severely limited. Even without the law, religious institutions and individuals have come under sustained fire for living out their religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman and that we are born male and female. Under the Equality Act, individuals and institutions could see increased lawsuits for failing to affirm same-sex marriage (in foster care and adoption),make single-sex private facilities co-ed, and use preferred pronouns for individuals who identify as transgender.

Language within the Equality Act could also have the effect of jeopardizing longstanding conscience protection laws. Specifically, the law’s public accommodation language could require health care providers to perform abortions over their religious objections. Pro-life groups are also concerned that the language could impact federal policy which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion.

Though the Fairness for All Act attempts to square this circle by providing exclusions for religious institutions, it is an unsuitable substitute, and at best, would amount to only a temporary delay to full enactment of the Equality Act.

We urge conservatives to reject the Equality Act when it comes to a vote in the House of Representatives, and further oppose the Fairness for All Act as an appropriate alternative.

 

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)
Alfred S. Regnery
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Chairman, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund
Tom McClusky
President
March for Life Action
Penny Y. Nance
President & CEO
Concerned Women for America
The Honorable Colin A. Hanna
President
Let Freedom Ring, Inc.
Jenny Beth Martin
Chairman
Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund
The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Chief Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan (1987-1988)
Diana Banister
President and Partner
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
Jessica Anderson
Vice President
Heritage Action for America
The Honorable Jim DeMint
Member, South Carolina
United States Senate (2005-2013)
Rachel Bovard
Policy Director
Senate Steering Committee (2014-2015)
Ed Corrigan
Vice Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Executive Director, Senate Steering Committee (2003-2012)
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Chairman
Constitutional Congress, Inc.
Thomas Fitton
President
Judicial Watch, Inc.
Cleta Mitchell, Esq.
Partner
Foley & Lardner LLP
The Honorable Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council
President, Council for National Policy
The Honorable Bob McEwen
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Ohio
Myron Ebell
Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute
William L. Walton
Chairman
CNP Action, Inc.
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council
David Bozell
President
ForAmerica
Michael P. Farris, J.D., LL.M.
President, CEO, and General Counsel
Alliance Defending Freedom
Karen England
Executive Director
Capitol Resource Institute & Nevada Family Alliance
Kristan Hawkins
President
Students for Life of America & Students for Life Action
Ellen F. Grigsby
Director of Institutional Partnerships
Open Doors USA
Rebecca Hagelin
Secretary
Council for National Policy
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
The Honorable Donald P. Hodel
Sec. of Energy & Sec. of Interior
President Ronald Reagan
Susan A. Carleson
Chairman/CEO
American Civil Rights Union
The Honorable James C. Miller III
Budget Director
President Ronald Reagan
Penna Dexter
Co-host
Point of View Radio
Joan Holt Lindsey
President
Lindsey Communications
Elaine Donnelly
President
Center for Military Readiness
Anne Schlafly Cori
Chairman
Eagle Forum
James C. Dobson Ph.D.
Founder & President
Dr. James Dobson Family Institute
The Honorable Gary L. Bauer
President
American Values
Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization, Inc.
Sherri R. Martin
Executive Vice President
The Martin Organization, Inc.
Haley E. Martin
President
The Martin Foundation
Nicholas Stehle
Campaign for the American Future
Shawn A. Mitchell
Former National Chaplain
National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA)
Jerry Melvin
Former Dean
Florida House of Representatives
Norm Singleton
President
Campaign for Liberty
Ralph Benko, Esq.
Political Columnist
Kelly Shackelford
President/CEO
First Liberty Institute
Tim Wildmon
President
American Family Association
Ron Pearson
Executive Director
Conservative Victory Fund
Paavo Ensio
Chairman
Universal Minerals Group
Richard Wright
CEO
AAndrews Consulting
Bill Shaker
CEO
Washington Marketing Group
James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman
60 Plus Association
Dr. Jerome R. Corsi
Founder and CEO
CorsiNation.com
Willes K. Lee
President
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President
60 Plus Association
Rick Manning
President
Americans for Limited Government
E.C. Sykes
General Partner
Aslan Ventures
The Honorable George K. Rasley, Jr.
Managing Editor
ConservativeHQ.com
Benjamin R. Case
CEO
Focused On Fundraising
Jenna Ellis
Constitutional Law Attorney
Rebekah Gantner
Executive Director
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund
Floyd Brown
Chairman
America Fighting Back PAC
Gary Allan Marx
President
Madison Strategies
Ed Martin
President
Phyllis Schlafly Eagles
Sean Noble
President
American Encore
Allen Hebert
Chairman
American-Chinese Fellowship of Houston
Tom Giovanetti
President
Institute for Policy Innovation
Jack Park
Conservative Activist and Donor
Richard D. Hayes
Partner
Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP
Randy M. Long
Founder
Long Business Advisors , LLC
Andresen Blom
President
Hawaiian Values
John F. Tate
President
America’s Liberty PAC
Kay R. Daly
President
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Bailey Amaral
Director
The Windrose Project
Charlie Copeland
President
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage
Judson Phillips
Founder
Tea Party Nation
Dr. Frank Wright
President & CEO
D. James Kennedy Ministries
William W. Pascoe, III
Board Member
Tea Party Patriots Action
C. Preston Noell III
President
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Mark Fitzgibbons
President of Corporate Affairs
American Target Advertising
The Honorable Tom DeLay
Former Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Terrence Scanlon
Retired Chairman and CEO
Capital Research Center
Amapola Hansberger
President
Legal Immigrants for America
Dr. Richard Rounsavelle
Trustee
Media Research Center
Sal Russo
Co-Founder and Chief Strategist
Tea Party Express
Mario Navarro da Costa
Director, Washington Bureau
Tradition, Family, Property
Nancy Schulze
Founder & President
Women Impacting America
Barry Meguiar
President
ROTW/Ignite America
Steve Berger
Pastor
Grace Chapel
The Honorable Mike Hill
Representative
Florida State House
Kevin Freeman
Founder
NSIC Institute
Faith Crowley
Assistant to the MJAA General Secretary/CEO
Messianic Jewish Alliance of America
The Honorable Gerard Kassar
State Chairman
NYS Conservative Party
Tim Macy
Chairman
Gun Owners of America
Christie Glesener
President/Founder
Shofar International Foundation
Jonathan M. Alexandre, Esq.
Senior Counsel for Governmental Affairs
Liberty Counsel
Jeff Hunt
Director
Centennial Institute
 

(All organizations listed for IDENTIFICATION purposes only)

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