The Democratic Party’s takeover of Congress and the White House in the 2020 elections will have major repercussions for policymaking at the federal level in 2021. One piece of damaging legislation that could become law this year is the so-called Equality Act.
The Equality Act would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected categories under federal civil rights law. Under this misguided bill, so-called “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity would be unlawful in employment, housing, education, and public places. The Equality Act also states that “an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.” The proposed bill would cause a wide range of problems, including:
- Endangering women and girls by giving biological males access to homeless shelters for women and to women’s locker rooms and restrooms;
- Punishing public employees who decline to address “transgender” persons by their “preferred pronouns”;
- Forcing employers to allow “transgendered” behavior in the workplace; and
- Punishing Christian-owned businesses that decline to provide services for same-sex ceremonies.
In addition, concerns have been raised about whether the Equality Act would require boys that identify as “transgender” to be allowed to compete against girls in interscholastic sports.
The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on May 17, 2019 by a vote of 236-173. Unfortunately, 23 members of New York’s congressional delegation—including Republican Reps. John Katko (R-NY24); Tom Reed (R-NY23); and Elise Stefanik (R-NY21)—voted for the bill, while only three House members from New York voted against it; of those three, only Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) is still in office. Furthermore, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand support the measure, as does President-elect Joe Biden, who has declared “transgender equality” to be “the civil rights issue of our time.” Clearly, New York conservatives have our work cut out for us as we work to block this destructive bill.
Members of New York’s congressional delegation who voted against the so-called Equality Act:
Members of New York’s congressional delegation who voted for the so-called Equality Act:
Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY3)
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY4)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY5)
Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY6)
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY7)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY8)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY9)
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY10)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12)
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY13)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY14)
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18)
Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY19)
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY20)
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY21)
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY23)
Rep. John Katko (R-NY24)
Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY25)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY26)