This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a vote on the Equality Act, a bill which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
In late October, President Joe Biden promised to make passing the Equality Act a top priority of his administration.
NRB opposes the so-called Equality Act because it creates further inequality by punishing Christians and other people of faith who hold sincere beliefs about the definition of marriage and biological sex.
“The Equality Act is a clear threat to religious liberty and the right of people of faith to live and work according to their convictions,” said NRB CEO Troy Miller. “This bill would drive faith-based organizations out of the public square and steamroll the consciences of millions of Americans with deeply held religious beliefs.”“The Equality Act is a clear threat to religious liberty and the right of people of faith to live and work according to their convictions.” — NRB CEO Troy MillerClick To Tweet
What is the Equality Act?
Introduced on March 13, 2019 by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While this bill is intended to protect the rights of LGBT Americans, the so-called Equality Act would actually fight against equality by penalizing people of faith who hold sincere beliefs about marriage and biological sex. This bill would leave many Americans unable to live and work according to their consciences.
What would the Equality Act mean for faith-based organizations?
The Equality Act would threaten the efforts of faith-based organizations and ministries everywhere, including faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. This bill would also explicitly limit the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which would have disastrous effects on freedom of religion and conscience for millions of Americans.
“By recognizing the critical difference between disagreements over marriage and discrimination based on identity, the Supreme Court has upheld both the freedom of Americans to hold different opinions on controversial issues like marriage and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of identity,” said Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
The Equality Act would fundamentally change the court’s ability to do this, causing citizens to be punished for holding to their views on biological sex.
How should Christians respond to the Equality Act?
As Christians, we firmly believe that all humans have dignity and intrinsic value. This belief is rooted in Genesis 1:27 which says that “God created man in His own image; He created Him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”
As those who believe that all people are made in the image of God, Christians should continue to love our neighbors as ourselves and reject all forms of unjust discrimination. However, the Equality Act would only create further inequality by threatening the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans.
Christians can oppose the Equality Act while still treating our LGBT neighbors with dignity, respect, and kindness. NRB will continue to work against legislation like the Equality Act that threatens the foundational right of all Americans to live and work according to their deeply held religious beliefs.