Friday, February 26, 2021

Equality Act

Well it is finally came up for a vote in House and it passed, next it moves on to the Senate
Some Republicans worry that this week's controversial antics from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have stomped on their attempts to sensitively communicate why they are opposed.
By Olivia Beavers and Melanie Zanona
February 25, 2021

The House passed sweeping legislation on Thursday to ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivering a major victory to the LGBTQ community — while exposing an ugly rift in the GOP.

The Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide protections for LGBTQ individuals, garnered unanimous support from House Democrats on its way to approval on a 224-206 vote. Three Republicans crossed party lines to join Democrats to endorse the bill, less than half of the number of GOP votes the measure got the last time it came to the floor.
“When you tell people that in a majority of states in this country, you can either be kicked out of your apartment, fired from your job, or denied service in a restaurant because you're gay or in the LGBTQ community, people think that can't be true,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the lead House co-sponsor of the bill, told POLITICO in an interview.
The bill is an expansion on the 2007 Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
As Congress prepares to vote on Equality Act, the share of Americans identifying as LGBT rises
22% of LGBT adults experienced poverty vs. 16% for non-LGBT adults, according the Williams Institute
Market Watch
By Meera Jagannathan
February 24, 2021

An increasing share of Americans self-identify as LGBT, according to a new report released as the House was set to vote on legislation that would bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The bill’s expanded definition of “public accommodations” includes “places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays (2) goods, services, or programs and (3) transportation services.”
In 2007 I went down to lobby for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that was before Congress but was stripped of protections for trans people when it was voted on in the House and there is still a chance of that happening now.

Here are some of the hurdles we have to get by…
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene hangs sign mocking congressional neighbor's transgender pride flag in Twitter spat
Greene hung a sign facing Rep. Marie Newman's office that says, "There are TWO genders: MALE &amp FEMALE. 'Trust The Science.'”
NBC News
By Rebecca Shabad
February 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., placed a sign outside her office Wednesday mocking Democratic Rep. Marie Newman, whose office sits across the hall, after Newman hung a transgender pride flag next to her door in protest over Greene's opposition to a LGBTQ rights bill.

Newman, who has a transgender daughter, tweeted a video of herself putting up the flag Wednesday after she said Greene tried to block the Equality Act on the House floor "because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil.’”

“Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” Newman, of Illinois, wrote in the tweet.

In response, Greene tweeted her own video showing her putting up a large sign that says, “There are TWO genders: MALE &amp FEMALE. “Trust The Science.””

Earlier in the day, Greene attempted to block the legislation, which is set for consideration Thursday, with a motion to adjourn. She tweeted that the move was “to give every Member of Congress time to rethink destroying #WomensRights and #WomensSports and #ReligiousFreedom before voting for the #EqualityAct!”
But that is not all the opposition that we have for the Equality Act… the religious right is back to their usual cry of “Religious Freedom” to discriminate.
Bishops: If passed, Equality Act will 'discriminate against people of faith'
Catholic News Service
February 24, 2021

If the House of Representatives passes the Equality Act, its mandates will "discriminate against people of faith" by adversely affecting charities and their beneficiaries, conscience rights, women’s sports, "and sex-specific facilities," said the chairmen of five U.S. bishops' committees.

The bill, known as H.R. 5 and recently reintroduced in the House, also will provide for taxpayer funding of abortion and limit freedom of speech, the chairmen said in a Feb. 23 letter to all members of Congress.

H.R. 5 would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, the credit system and jury duty. The House was expected to vote on the measure before Feb. 26.

"Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe because every person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion," they said, "This commitment is reflected in the church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion or any other characteristic."
But… You know there is a but coming.
H.R. 5 "purports to protect people experiencing same-sex attraction or gender discordance from discrimination. But instead, the bill represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding 'gender' on individuals and organizations," they said.

"This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting 'gender' as only a social construct," they said. "As Pope Francis has reflected, however, 'biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex — gender — can be distinguished but not separated.'"
So that is a fancy way of saying that the want to be able to ignore the law and be allowed to discriminate against us.

There is a legal term that say if a law is neutral toward religion then it doesn’t violate the First Amendment.
...As long as the law was generally applicable to all religious and non-religious individuals alike, and neutral toward religion, meaning not intended to interfere with religious practice, the law met the requirements of the Free Exercise Clause...
But that is being tested in a Supreme Court case that the court heard last November and their verdict should be heard sometime before the end of June that could make all non-discrimination laws moot.

And if the court rules that you can discriminate against LGBTQ+ people does that apply to all protected classes? Could someone discriminate against a black person and claim “religious freedom?” or discriminate against a Muslim or a Jewish persons, wouldn’t that be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of equal treatment under the law?

With a 50/50 split in the Senate this bill will have a hard time getting passed unamended and who what will get added or stripped. The last time a bill was on the floor of Congress we got thrown under the bus.

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