U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has called on the Senate to reject the “disastrous” bill known as the “Equality Act” for its blatant, if largely underreported, inequalities.
Gaetz, a Florida Republican, spelled out the bill’s problems in his weekly newsletter to his constituents.
He noted the bill passed the House on Thursday by a 224-206 margin. Three Republicans joined Democrats in shoving it through. They were Reps. John Katko and Tom Reed, both of New York, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
“While I strongly oppose anti-LGBTQ bigotry and discrimination, the Equality Act would cause more harm than good,” Gaetz wrote.
“This terrible bill greatly harms women’s rights nationwide, while also curtailing American citizens’ constitutional liberties.”
“This legislation hurts women,” Gaetz noted, by forcing women “to share bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and sleeping facilities with biological males who choose to identify as females.”
“Religious freedom will suffer,” argued Gaetz, saying the bill “exempts its provisions from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, thus forcing individuals into abiding by rules fundamentally opposed to their sincerely held beliefs under penalty of law.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been unusually harsh in denouncing the bill.
“Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act discriminates against people of faith precisely because of those beliefs. In the process, the Equality Act codifies the new ideology of ‘gender’ in federal law, dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting “gender” as only a social construct,” the bishops said in a statement.
“Our core beliefs about the dignity of the human person and the wisdom of God’s design motivate both our positions on marriage, life, and sexuality and our call to serve those most in need and the common good. By running roughshod over religious liberty, the Equality Act directly undermines the Church’s ability to fulfill that call.”
To which Gaetz adds, “The Equality Act undermines women’s sports,” by allowing “biological men to compete in women’s competition, placing them at an unfair advantage, and destroying the spirit of sport. It would harm biological women vying for sports scholarships, restricting their access to higher education.”
Moreover, Gaetz maintained the bill would force parents “to succumb to government oversight of children suffering from gender dysphoria, undermining the family unit and stripping them of their fundamental parental rights.” Additionally, “The Equality Act would require medical doctors to perform sexual reassignment surgeries even if doing so violates their sincerely held beliefs — in contravention of decades of established law.”
Finally, “Discourse would be silenced,” Gaetz wrote. “This bill would further encroach on the First Amendment by silencing free speech and limiting public discourse on gender, faith, and marriage.”
“This legislation would fundamentally alter our society in ways that are harmful for religious liberty, individual liberty, and the family unit,” Gaetz concluded.
“I hope that the Senate will not take up this disastrous bill.”