by Liberty McArtor • 7 min read
The dangerous “Equality” Act, a bill that threatens religious liberty protections like never before, could be up for a Senate vote by the end of June.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote to colleagues earlier this month stating he intends to bring the legislation for a vote by the end of the month. You’ll recall the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill earlier this year, and if passed by the Senate, it will head to President Biden’s desk for a final signature.
Because of the imminent possibility that the Equality Act could become law (maybe in the next several weeks), it’s urgent that all Americans understand why this bill could be catastrophic for religious freedom in our country.
If it Passes: How the Equality Act Threatens Your Religious Liberty
While the Equality Act sounds like a benign name, it has little to do with equality. Instead of promoting equal treatment, it would instead punish and discriminate against any American who holds traditional, religious beliefs on matters of sex, gender, marriage, and even life in the womb.
The bill makes sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also expands the definition of public accommodation to:
“Any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency, or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting, or legal services.”
Every American should be free to live without being coerced by the government to do something that would violate their core beliefs or their conscience—but that’s exactly what this provision of the Equality Act would force them to do.
This expansive redefinition could have a devastating impact on everyday Americans who live out their faith in their daily lives, whether it’s in their own business, school, nonprofit organization or house of worship. It means that a Christian baker who makes custom wedding cakes, a pro-life obstetrician, a religious wedding venue, or a faith-based women’s shelter—just to name a few examples—could be forced to participate in activities that violate their religious convictions.
One of the worst, if not the worst, aspects of the Equality Act is that it would gut any protection Americans have under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Signed by President Bill Clinton with historic bipartisan support, RFRA permits Americans to have their day in court if they believe their religious liberty was violated.
The bill makes sure Americans of faith will no longer have that recourse, stating:
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993…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.”
These are just some of the ways the so-called Equality Act could eviscerate religious free exercise. To learn more about the dangers posed by this bill, download this free resource provided exclusively by First Liberty:
Sen. Manchin and Sinema are Key to Holding the Line & Protecting the Filibuster
With the Senate being narrowly split 50/50 between Senate Democrats and Republicans, proponents of the Equality Act face a difficult task in gathering the sixty (60) votes it needs to pass—unless the filibuster is eliminated.
But beyond ramming through the radical Equality Act, the far Left has more than one reason for lobbying to end the Senate filibuster. Without this important legislative rule, there would be few, if any, effective limits on the majority who holds political power to impose massive change with little reflection. That means one party could ram radical, highly divisive legislation right through the Senate…legislation like the Equality Act, or a bill to pack the Supreme Court, like the one that’s currently pending in Congress to add four (4) seats to the nation’s highest court.
The urgency and insistence by Senate Democrats and the White House to hold the Equality Act vote this month appears to be part of a strategy to apply pressure and remove the filibuster they see as an “obstacle” to achieving their political agenda.
Holding the line are Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who’ve publicly stated they will not vote to end the filibuster.
Keep in mind, however, that both Manchin and Sinema have voted in line with President Biden’s agenda 100 percent of the time since he took office, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight.
Will Manchin and Sinema stay true to their word and resist ending the filibuster with the pressure this month brings?
No Time to Waste
Clearly, America is facing threats to religious freedom like never before.
Facing the specter of the Equality Act and a possible Supreme Court coup, First Liberty needs YOU on our team right now…like never before.
We’re leading the national effort to educate as many Americans as possible—including national decision makers—about the dangers of the Equality Act, the push to end the filibuster, court-packing, and more.
Will you stand against the rising tide of tyranny and defend religious liberty with a donation today?