Legislating in the Darkness: The National Equality Act
“Never before in American history has one political party tried to so dramatically rewrite federal civil rights laws to include an undefined, self-referential, ideologically driven term—‘gender identity’—in the U.S. Code,” said Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. [WSJ]
H.R. 5, the National Equality Act, quietly passed in the House last week on May 17th. Like most other LGBT equality related legislation, this monumental bill has flown largely under cover through the legislative process. There are few feature headlines documenting this milestone, not even in the New York Times. Unlike the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which this bill amends to include gender identity and sexual orientation, the public outcry is nowhere to be seen—on either side of the issue.
If passed, H.R.5 will bring the same kind of ideological changes to the issue of homosexuality as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has done for racial sensitivity. Yet, the issue of race is not at all the same as that of sexuality. Today we recognize how vital the Civil Rights bill was to the welfare of our nation; and we recognize that its protections and enforcements have changed America’s perspective on race. But, homosexuality is not like the African American or even women’s rights movements of the 1960s.
Unlike gender identity and sexual orientation,”race” is not a matter of self-perception, though it is a sociological term. African Americans would find it immoral to claim they perceive themselves to be white. No African American lives a life in the black community then declares they felt white all along, or vice versa.
Similarly, the self-perception of being female does not qualify a man for the protections offered to women. H.R. 5 co-opts the language of protections regarding “sex” discrimination that has traditionally been preserved for women only. It removes some of the long sought after protections afforded to women against sexual abuse by awarding transgender women the same rights.
I believe the LGBT culture (not the experience of same sex attraction) exists because society as a whole has rejected the behavior. The Equality Act is aimed at protecting LGBT identity, particularly as it connects to that culture. At the time of Stonewall (the birthplace of the modern LGBT equality movement), gay culture was highly marginalized by all of society, not only among Christians, reflecting a historical (if not evolutionary) bias against the behavior. And so, gay culture has matured within a vacuum of rejection and hopelessness.
In my opinion, society’s ongoing marginalization of LGBT people continues because science (especially psychology) has largely given up on sexual restoration. Pressure to accept homosexuality (removing it from the DSM) came at a time—the 1970s and ‘80s—when psychology was advancing in its understanding of sexuality and issues such as trauma. But in that era political pressure (beginning with Stonewall activism) directed leaders of the APA away from researching and adopting new approaches. That failure has led many to believe nothing can be done, leading to the idea one is born gay and that the disposition is innate.
Today, there are more options for restoration than ever before. Psychologists know more regarding neuroplasticity, the power of neuro-feedback, trauma release and body work, as well as reordering of physical neuropathways—all things that lead to healing for sexual brokenness—but the doors to those options have been closed to LGBT identifying people simply because of this maturing modern ideology that gay is perfect and innate. Thankfully, many seeking hope turn to Christianity, which offers answers and wholeness for LGBT people when extended through God’s love, compassion, and power.
So, there are many gray areas regarding the enforcement and impact of this bill, but one thing is certain, its passing will enforce the belief that one is born gay or trans and there is no other option for such individuals. HR5 will empower the Federal Government to levy punishment on any individual or organization with a dissenting ideological view.
For us at CHANGED and Equipped to Love, this philosophical shift will block thousands of people from solid emotional and physical health. We know that the behaviors are linked to underlying issues that can be addressed and may bring sexual restoration. In the very least, even while same sex desire continues in one’s life, understanding the underlying perceptions and traumas that are linked to the behavior yield emotional wellbeing. And, the LGBT identity only further isolates men and women from the sense of belonging they seek to gain through this bill.
When so many of us leave the LGBT culture behind to experience fulfilling and quietly “normal” lives in “regular” culture, giving LGBTQ protected status is nonsensical.
Summary of the bill with observations:
Sec 2 (3) “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (referred to as ‘‘LGBT’’) people commonly experience discrimination in securing access to public accommodations—including restaurants, senior centers, stores, places of or establishments that provide entertainment, health care facilities, shelters, government offices, youth service providers including adoption and foster care providers, and transportation. Forms of discrimination include the exclusion and denial of entry, unequal or unfair treatment, harassment, and violence. This discrimination prevents the full participation of LGBT people in society and disrupts the free flow of commerce. “
I agree that LGBT identifying people must receive fair treatment, nevertheless I know that with care and compassion men and women have choices in how they steward their sexuality. And statistically, transidentifying children experience resolution of gender confusion with time and adequate care.
“H.R. 5 legislates misconceptions and forbids science and good medical practice, and that is truly discimination in that it forbids the care that is really needed.” - Andre Van Mol, MD
Sec 2 (6) “Regular and ongoing discrimination against LGBT people, as well as women, in accessing public accommodations contributes to negative social and economic outcomes, and in the case of public accommodations operated by State and local governments, abridges individuals’ constitutional rights. “
Public restrooms (including in public schools), particularly women’s restrooms, will be made available to transgender women.
“Trans” ideology erodes the freedoms biological women have fought for over the last 100 years. In a sweeping move, H.R.5 eliminates protections that uniquely empower women by declaring that femininity is a self-defined identity and gives equal status between “transitioning” and pregnancy.
Sec 2 (7)”The discredited practice known as ‘‘conversion therapy’’ is a form of discrimination that harms LGBT people by undermining individuals sense of self worth, increasing suicide ideation and substance abuse, exacerbating family conflict, and contributing to second class status. “
Bethel Church’s public stance that people can change could be deemed discriminatory and inflammatory. Certainly CHANGED and Equipped to Love will be vulnerable.
Sec 2 (11) “Individuals who are LGBT, or are perceived to be LGBT, have been subjected to a history and pattern of persistent, widespread, and pervasive discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity by both private sector and Federal, State, and local government actors, including in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. An explicit and comprehensive national solution is needed to address such discrimination, including the full range of remedies available under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “
Any private institution that receives Federal Funding, such as Christian Universities, will be impacted.
Sec 2 (12) “Numerous provisions of Federal law expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, and Federal agencies and courts have correctly interpreted these prohibitions on sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex stereotypes. In particular, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission correctly interpreted title VII of the Civil Rights Act 12 of 1964 in Macy v. Holder, Baldwin v. Foxx, and Lusardi v. McHugh. “
This offers protects for people when they get married to a same-sex spouse
This protects the rights of transgender people in the workforce, particularly during “transition”
The (transgender) Lusardi case ruled it was harassment in the workplace when the employer refused to use special pronouns and expressed concern about the use of women’s bathrooms.
Sec 3 Public accommodations: Indicates there may be no segregation in public places and no discimination in any place of business. A major area of concern will be the practice of medicine. Doctors will no longer have freedom of personal judgment regarding the administration of hormone therapies or surgeries. In the same way, parents rights will be compromised in matters of transgender procedures. Professional counselors will be compelled to affirm same sex sexuality and transgender ideology. Business owners and businesses will be impacted—there will be no exclusions for freedom of conscience. HR5 would reverse the Masterpiece Cake decision, for example.
Sec 4 Public facilities. HR5 will impose a nationwide transgender bathroom policy.
Sec 5 Desegregation in public education. Publicly funded K-12 schools and universities will have Federally mandated sexual orientation and gender identity curricula.
Sec 6 Federally assisted programs. Mandates that transgender women may compete against biological women in sports and vice versa. All public and private insurers (Medicaid, Blue Cross etc.) could be required to follow a transgender medical mandate. Faith based adoption and foster care agencies will not have freedom of conscience.
Sec 7 Employment Makes it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment…” Employees will be allowed to sue employers whose insurance programs do not cover transgender medical procedures. Employees and employers will be compelled to use “preferred pronouns” and an individual could claim a hostile work environment if not called by their preferred pronoun.
Sec 9 ‘‘(with respect to gender identity) an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.’’
Sec 1107 ‘‘The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 3 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.’’
- There is no freedom of conscience provision. Religion is not protected under this law, so religious organizations could be forced to hire or retain individuals whose conduct is inconsistent with the organization’s values.
- Most vitally, freedom of speech on issues of gender identity and sexual orientation will not be protected and so language such as “homosexuality is sin” preached from pulpits may be subject to penalties such as fines.