‘Equality Act’ Passes House of Representatives, Moves to U.S. Senate

Rochester, NY—The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the so-called Equality Act, today by a vote of 224-206 (unofficial). The Equality Act would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill would give biological males access to female-only spaces (including women’s shelters) across the nation, would create unfair conditions for female athletes, would place some hospitals and medical professionals in legal jeopardy if they conscientiously object to providing abortions or “sex reassignment” surgeries, would force Christian colleges and faith-based charities to recognize same-sex unions and transgenderism, and would punish some Christian businesses that decline to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), made the following comments:

“Today’s action by the House of Representatives is disappointing, but not surprising. With Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) at the helm, the House can be expected to pass objectionable bills like the so-called Equality Act. We are encouraged, however, by the fact that the bill received 12 fewer votes in the House than it did in 2019. We thank the members of New York’s congressional delegation who voted against this bill today. They are: Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY2), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY11), Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), Claudia Tenney (R-NY22), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY27). We are deeply disappointed with the other 21 New York members of the House that voted in favor of the Equality Act. In particular, we are dismayed that Reps. John Katko (R-NY23) and Tom Reed (R-NY24) cast their votes in support of this destructive and misguided measure. Voters should remember all of this in 2022.”

McGuire continued, “The Equality Act offers no religious liberty protections for people of faith, but rather deliberately strips them of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) assurances granted under a law signed by President Bill Clinton and first introduced by then-Rep. Charles Schumer nearly thirty years ago. NYCF calls upon Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) to remember how important those protections were then and still are today, and to reconsider his support for this bill. Furthermore, NYCF calls upon Leader Schumer’s colleagues in the United States Senate to refuse to pass this misguided legislation. While every American should be treated equally under the law, the Equality Act would—ironically—make our nation less fair and less equal.”