Currently, the Equality Act is a hot topic as the chambers of Congress are reviewing and voting on whether to pass the bill. In this Q&A session, Anna Claire and Renee discuss why this Act is vital to Republicans and Democrats, and hope that through this, listeners can decide which parts of the bill they support, as well as finding a balance between acceptance and freedom to disagree. Although the Equality Act is being widely discussed now, different versions of the bill have been introduced several times in Congress and were even passed in the House of Representatives in 2019. However, the ruling of Bostock v. Clayton County in June of 2020, has changed many people’s perspectives on the Equality Act. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the protections guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, also extended to discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. In February of 2021, the Equality Act was passed through the House of Representatives and is currently waiting to be voted on in the Senate, where the chance of a filibuster is highly likely.
The Equality Act is founded on the 1964 Civil Rights Act which stipulates all people shall not face discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Equality Act would include adding the phrase, “sexual orinetation or gender identity” after the word “sex”. Democrats argue that anyone in the LGBTQ+ community should have equal rights as heterosexual and cisgender people. By passing the Equality Act, discrimination in places such as resturaunts, senior centers, stores, health care facilities, and government office would be ilegal. Forms of discrimination include denial of entry, unequal or unfair treatment, harassment, and violence.
On the other side, the Republican party disagrees with legally making preferred sexual orientation the same as biological sex. Republicans argue sexual orientation should not be protected by the law, because it conflicts the right to freedom of religion. If the Equality Act is passed, doctors will be forced to perform gender transformation surgeries, even if it is against their religion. It would also require public and private schools to teach students about the LGBTQ+ community. This has led to concerns about citizens being held to a law that requires them to go against their religion.
Though the Equality Act can appear daunting and complex, it is important to let listeners decide which aspects of the Act they agree and disagree with. Tune into Episode 14 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts to hear the whole conversation. If you’re a fan, please rate the podcast, and leave a review!
More resources to further understand the Equality Act:
“The Equality Act: How Could Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Laws Affect You?” by Heritage Foundation (Conservative)
“Commentary: The Equality Act and how it could affect churches, religious organizations” by John Litzler (Conservative)
“The Equality Act” by Human Rights Campaign (Progressive)
Video: “The Federal Fairness for All Act” by AND Campaign
“The End of Women’s Sports” by Selina Soule