The Equality Act, a sweeping new piece of legislation that elevates sexual orientation and gender identity above religious freedoms, passed the House Judiciary Committee last week and could face a floor vote as early as next week.
“Essentially, the Equality Act gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment,” ADF’s Sarah Kramer of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote on the organization’s website.
The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system. One congressional aide said the Equality Act is scheduled for a vote next week, according to a gay publication covering the bill.
ADF and other prominent Christian and conservative groups, including Judicial Watch, James Dobson Family Institute, Liberty Counsel and the Heritage Foundation, are warning of widespread repercussions for believers since it eliminates Christians from relying on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to uphold their religious rights, according to World Net Daily.
In an April hearing in the Judiciary Committee, Chairman U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.-Dist. 10) outlined the intentions of the bill.
“Religion is no excuse for discrimination when it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity,” Nadler declared.
Judicial Watch, for instance, said the bill effectively eliminates single-sex “public multi-stall bathrooms, domestic violence or rape crisis shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, jails, juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, locker rooms or group showers.”
James Dobson called the Equality Act “a thinly veiled attempt to finish off religious liberty in America once and for all, which ought to be plainly obvious based upon a cursory reading of the First Amendment.”
The ADF article said that while “equality” may “sound nice to some ears, this bill actually poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to religious freedom and the progress that women have made toward true equal treatment in law and culture.”
“This would prohibit employers, individuals who rent out apartments in their homes, preschools, and even religious schools and organizations from making choices based on basic biology, bodily privacy, and their beliefs about the nature of marriage,” Kramer wrote.
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Source: Christian Headlines