KEY VOTE: “NO” on the "Equality Act" (H.R. 5)

KEY VOTE: House · May 13, 2019

Heritage Action opposes The “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

This week, the House will vote on one of Nancy Pelosi’s signature pieces of legislation: the “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.). This legislation would modify the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal anti-discrimination law. This bill is so transformational to our society that it has united opposition across the spectrum of political views, including the Women’s Liberation Front, the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition, the former president of the Log Cabin Republicans Gregory T. Angelo, and Hacsi Horvath, an adjunct lecturer at the University of California, San Francisco, who used to identify as transgender.

Although titled the “Equality Act,” the policies contained within this bill would create greater inequality, hurting women and girls, children and youths suffering from gender dysphoria, parents, individuals of faith, employers and workers, and medical professionals, and would overturn some of President Trump’s most significant achievements.

H.R. 5 would force schools (both public and private), churches, hospitals, businesses, and other institutions to recognize an individuals “chosen gender” instead of their “biological sex.” As a result, more women and girls would be forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and sleeping facilities with biological men who “identify” as women. There are already specific examples of abuse happening throughout the country. In Georgia, a male student who identified as transgender sexually assaulted a 5 year old kindergarten girl in the bathroom because the school district has a transgender friendly bathroom policy that allows biological boys who identify as female to use girls’ restrooms.

The “Equality Act” would also crowd women out of female athletics by forcing them to compete against biological males who identify as female. In Connecticut, two biologically male runners crushed the female competition at the state track championships because a state law allows biological boys who identify as girls to compete in girl’s sports. Not only is this unfair, but it diminishes women and girl’s access to collegiate scholarships and leaves fewer opportunities for them to advance in athletics, in education, and professionally.

According to Emilie Kao of the Heritage Foundation,

Women shouldn’t have to compete against men in order to play sports. Yet that’s exactly what is happening increasingly across the country and around the world, as a growing number of male athletes who self-identify as women are being allowed to enter women’s competitions. The so-called Equality Act would only worsen this trend. This piece of federal legislation, being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies. It would spell “the end of women’s sports,” in the words of Duke University Law School professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman, who testified against the bill at a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing.

H.R. 5 would further hurt children and minors, particularly those suffering from gender dysphoria. Medical professionals would be pressured to provide gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers and hormones—these are irreversible decisions that have not been shown to help mental health while creating a litany of permanent physical health problems. Subjecting children to such radical procedures is even more dubious when one considers that 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria no longer feel distressed by their bodies after puberty.

The “Equality Act” would also affect the way that parents are able to make decisions regarding their children. Under this legislation, if a parent chooses against allowing their son or daughter to receive life-altering hormonal treatments, they could lose custody. In Ohio, the state terminated parent’s custody of their teenage daughter when they chose not to provide her with male transition hormones. This flies in the face of public opinion where 73 percent of Americans oppose the government taking children away from parents in these situations.

Parents would also lose control over their child’s education. H.R. 5 could force public schools across the nation to incorporate transgender theory and sexual preferences into school curriculum. According to the Heritage Foundation,

If the Equality Act were to pass in Congress, it would add SOGI as protected classes to the 1964 Civil Rights Act making them equivalent to race. This would give LGBT activists the basis for arguing that the 50 million children who attend public schools should be introduced to highly politicized views about sexual preferences and nonscientific ideas about transgender theory starting in as early as pre-K… The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and Planned Parenthood are already introducing students to transgender theory and sexual preferences in numerous ways: including via cartoon characters like the “Gender Unicorn,” “Drag Queen Story Hours,” and classroom curriculum. They claim pre-K students can determine they were “born in the wrong body,” that parents should begin social transition at age 4, followed by hormonal intervention at age 8, and surgical intervention. In the name of “gender-affirming care,” 13-year old girls have been given double mastectomies.

This bill would also limit the free exercise of religion, attacking individuals, charities, and businesses by forcing them to give up traditional norms regarding gender and marriage and recognize all forms of sexual orientation. In New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, faith-based adoption agencies who refuse to place children in homes without both a mother and a father have been forced to shut down rather than violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. Forcing faith-based adoption agencies to shut down not only harms individuals of faith, but the innocent children desperately in need of loving homes.

Lastly, the “Equality Act” would undermine freedom of conscience by forcing employers to cover abortion and medical professionals to conduct or assist in performing abortions. It would also force employers to cover sex “reassignment” surgeries in their health insurance plans and would require medical professionals to perform these procedures even if their professional opinion determines that a different course of action is best for the individual.

Clearly, the so-called “Equality Act” creates inequality for so many and that is why the majority of Americans oppose its policies. It is a blanket piece of legislation that classifies biological males and females in the same category and threatens Americans from all walks of life who choose not to comply with unorthodox gender terminology. Yes, it is wrong to discriminate against someone simply because they identify as transgender or gay, but this is not what the “Equality Act” is about.

Members of Congress who care about women, girls, parents and their children, religious individuals and institutions, free speech and equal rights should oppose this legislation to stop its dangerous and widespread harms and to reflect the will of the American people.


The Heritage Foundation: The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left
The Heritage Foundation: How the Federal “Equality Act” Would Multiply the Harm Already Done by State SOGI Policies
The Heritage Foundation: How Pelosi’s “Equality Act” Would Ruin Women’s Sports
The Heritage Foundation: Equality Act Would Create Inequality for Women
The Heritage Foundation: H.R. 5 Is No Act of Equality
The Heritage Foundation: Heritage Expert: The Equality Act Undermines Our Fundamental Freedoms
The Daily Signal: Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ Would Undo Trump’s Most Significant Achievements
Heritage Action for America: Equality Act Toolkit

Heritage Action opposes The “Equality Act” (H.R. 5) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.