Why the Equality Act is not actually equal


Photo used from Flickr by Victoria Pickering

Protesters during the hearing for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Equality Act can be associated with this court case in which a baker refused to bake a cake for a gay couple in 2018. The baker won the case, and the court ruled that the baker cannot be forced to bake a cake that goes against his religious beliefs. The equality act would completely disregard religious freedom.

Lucy Moon, Staff Writer

This past February, the House of Representatives passed a bill named the Equality Act further amending the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex in 1964 under President Johnson. The irony of “equality” in the bill’s name won’t be lost on those whose rights it actually tramples.

On the surface, the bill embodies what every American wants: equality for all. The bill is aimed towards Americans who are LGBTQ+, and its focus is to end discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Of course, this mindset is a move in the right direction, but the details of the bill put religious rights and women’s rights on the line.

To elaborate, religious liberties protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 are stripped away in the Equality Act. The courts would no longer take into account American’s religious freedoms when defending laws. This directly affects freedom in the business world, adding more suppression in our free-market economy. The biggest example of this is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. A baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding because of his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court ruled that a religious business cannot be forced to provide a service that represents something they do not agree with.

Furthermore, the bill assaults women’s rights to fairly compete in sports, as the bill would allow biological men to participate on women’s sports teams. It’s no secret that men are physically built stronger than women, so allowing a biological man, for example, to join a women’s lifting team in high school, is preposterous. Introducing biological males as contenders would cause discouragement and pose a safety risk in some sports. Female athletes work hard; they get up every day and give their best to play safely and fairly. This bill would undo successes achieved by great female athletes over the past decades- achievements that took courage, strength, and commitment over the past 121 years. Eventually, this bill would unwind women’s progress in sports.

This bill also puts the safety of women and young girls on the line by allowing biological men to use womens’ restrooms. It’s apparent that transgender women will find relief with this bill, but the act will harm young women in America. Biological men would be able to enter and use women’s restrooms without any restrictions or consequences. Vulnerable women and children will be susceptible to predatory men who will take advantage of this future law. Any immoral man would be able to “feel like a lady” and frequent restrooms to intentionally assault and traumatize women. Sexual assault and rape are too abominable to be glorified by this bill in the media and Congress. Proponents of the bill argue that non-discrimination laws for transgender people do not lead to an increase in crime, but acknowledge that there have been instances of men assaulting women in public restrooms before these laws. These predatory men needed to force the door open and defy the boundary, so why should America open the door for good and embrace no boundary?

America needs to move in the right direction regarding equality based on gender identity, but this bill tramples on women in the name of giving others equal rights. We all need to come together and create new ideas to eliminate the discrimination against Americans who are transgender without infringing upon the rights of other demographics.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece belong solely to their respective author(s). They do not represent the opinions of South Forsyth High School or Forsyth County Schools.