Over the past couple months, a bill mislabeled as the "Equality Act" has passed the U.S. House, and is now being considered by our U.S. Senators. Unfortunately, the so-called "Equality Act" actually enforces anti-religious liberty inequalities at the federal level. The implications for Christians would be disastrous and are antithetical to the First Amendment. The bill poses a major danger to medical professionals, children, parents, female athletes, artisans, charities, and other faith-based proponents of traditional marriage and biological sex.
In North Carolina, we're quite familiar with the danger of local sexual orientation and gender identity ordinances, such as the one Mayor Jennifer Roberts tried to accomplish in Charlotte. In addition to the experience of our own state, other states have evidenced the type of expected disastrous results that such a bill would bring at a federal level. In just the past two weeks—and in spite of his victory at the Supreme Court—baker Jack Phillips has been hit with a third lawsuit which was allegedly justified by state-level SOGI laws in his home state. The Supreme Court also sent florist Barronelle Stutzman and baker Melissa Klein's cases back to their state's Supreme Courts with instructions to decide it in accordance to their ruling in Jack's case. However, even with these instructions and the Supreme Court's upholding of religious freedom, the Washington Supreme Court ruled a second time against Baronnelle in June by affirming its religious bigotry against her and refusing to exonerate her of violating their SOGI law. This problem isn't going away, and while the Supreme Court granted Jack Phillips a clear victory, states and courts with SOGI laws seem to be intentionally and openly ignoring the Supreme Court's instructions and precedent.
Across the nation, state versions of the "Equality Act" have led to veteran high school teachers such as Virginia's Peter Vlaming losing their job because they politely sought not to use preferred gender pronouns that violated their deep-seated religious beliefs. They have also led charities such as Philadelphia's Catholic Social Services to have their child placement services halted by the city because of their religious belief that children deserve to be placed with both a mother and a father.
Imagine what would happen if this became a national law!
We've long shared these types of stories with you, and the implications time and time again have been clear and proven: whenever cities or states pass these types of laws, people of faith experience government-sanctioned compulsion to adopt ideologies that ravage deep-seated religious convictions.
After passage of the so-called "Equality Act" by the U.S. House, we asked Senators Burr and Tillis whether they would support passage of the bill in the Senate. We paid a visit to Senator Tillis’ office and Senator Burr’s office in D.C. and met with one of their staff members in each office hoping to receive some clear statement on where they stand on the mis-named "Equality Act." Staffers in both offices stated that the Senators do not support the "Equality Act". That is great news! We hope that both the Senators will put out statements immediately articulating their opposition to the "Equality Act." What worries us, however, is that Senator Tillis was featured on an invitation for a fundraiser hosted by a pro-LGBTQ gay rights organization because he was "a pro-LGBTQ Republican member of Congress." We were unable to receive an explanation from his staff of this event, even though we were assured that Senator Tillis would not support the "Equality Act" "in its current form."
This much is clear to us: the "Equality Act" has disastrous far-reaching implications across our entire country (and thus all over our state). Under the so-called "Equality Act", everything is defined as a public accomodation, which allows the federal government to coerce all kinds of private institutions.
In short it is a far-reaching anti-religious liberty SOGI law with disastrous implications.