Is The Equality Act About Equality?

I have written several articles on postings related to politics. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these political events.

The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

The Problem

Despite significant steps forward, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans lack basic legal protections in states across the country. The patchwork nature of current laws leaves millions of people subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their families, and their day-to-day lives.

Our nation’s civil rights laws protect people on the basis of race, color, national origin, and in most cases, sex, disability, and religion. But federal law does not explicitly provide non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The need for these protections is clear—nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans report having experienced discrimination in their personal lives.

Everyone should have a fair chance to provide a home for their families and access essential services without fear of harassment or discrimination.

What is the Equality Act?

The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. 

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law—including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government—to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex.

Additionally, the Equality Act would update the public spaces and services covered in current law to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, and transportation services. These important updates would strengthen existing protections for everyone.

Decades of civil rights history show that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies targeted to specific vulnerable groups. By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in these fundamental laws, LGBTQ people will finally be afforded the exact same protections as other covered characteristics under federal law.

We Still Need the Equality Act

In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity because they are types of sex discrimination. While this landmark ruling is a crucial step forward in addressing discrimination against LGBTQ people, the Equality Act is still necessary.

President Biden issued an executive order directing agencies to appropriately interpret the Bostock ruling to apply not just to employment discrimination, but to other areas of law where sex discrimination is prohibited, including education, housing, and health care. However, a future administration may refuse to interpret the law this way, leaving these protections vulnerable. Congress must codify the Bostock decision by passing the Equality Act to ensure future administrations fully enforce non-discrimination laws.

Additionally, there are two areas of civil rights law that do not currently prohibit sex discrimination, and therefore are not covered by Bostock–all federally funded programs and public spaces and services. The Equality Act adds sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to these sections of the Civil Rights Act. The law covering public spaces and services is also sorely outdated, and the Equality Act updates that law to strengthen protections for everyone.

Broad Support

The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that nationally, support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent, which includes a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The bill has been endorsed by more than 600 organizations, including civil rights, education, health care, and faith-based organizations. In addition, there is strong business support for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The legislation has been endorsed by the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, a group of more than 320 major companies with operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 33 states, and a collective revenue of $5.7 trillion. In total, these companies employ more than 12.3 million people across the United States. More than 60 business associations including the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have also followed suit endorsing the Equality Act.

What is the Status of the Bill in the 117th Congress?

The Equality Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) on February 18th, 2021, and in the Senate by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on February 23rd, 2021. The Equality Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 25, 2021, with a bipartisan vote of 224-206.

Where the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that African-Americans had equal access to public accommodations and material goods, the Equality Act would further inequality by penalizing everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way.

Here are 5 groups who would be harmed if the Equality Act becomes law:

Employers and Workers

The Equality Act would force employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms or else lose their businesses and jobs. 

This is already happening on the state and local level. 

The most high profile example involves Colorado baker Jack Phillips, whose case went all the way to the Supreme Court after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission accused him of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when he declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding.

He is not the only victim. Other cases involving disagreement over the meaning of marriage feature floristsbakersphotographerswedding venue ownersvideographersweb designerscalligraphers, and public servants.

Now citizens are being punished for their views on biological sex.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, Jack Phillips found himself in court again after an activist attorney who identifies as transgender, requested that Masterpiece Cakeshop create a “gender transition celebration” cake. 

After the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that Phillips had discriminated on the basis of gender identity, he sued the Commission for targeting him for his Christian beliefs. Ultimately, the Commission dropped the case, and Phillips agreed to drop his own lawsuit against the agency.

Even when victims win legal battles like Jack Phillips, conflicts like these have a chilling effect. They discourage people from opening new businesses or entering into certain fields entirely. 

A federal sexual orientation and gender identity law would preclude compromise of any kind on disagreements about marriage and sexuality. 

Take Peter Vlaming. This high school French teacher was dismissed under the school’s anti-discrimination policy after he refused to comply with administrators’ orders to use a female student’s preferred masculine pronouns. Vlaming had tried to accommodate the student by avoiding pronouns altogether and addressing the student by their preferred masculine name, but this was deemed insufficient by the school board. 

The Equality Act would increase conflicts like these and put people out of work for their beliefs.

Medical Professionals 

The Equality Act would force hospitals and insurers to provide and pay for these therapies against any moral or medical objections. It would politicize medicine by forcing professionals to act against their best medical judgment and provide transition-affirming therapies.

The fight is already here. Catholic hospitals in California and New Jersey have been sued for declining to perform hysterectomies on otherwise healthy women who want to become male. A third Catholic hospital in Washington settled out of court when the ACLU sued them for declining to perform a double mastectomy on a gender dysphoric sixteen-year-old girl. 

These cases would multiply under the Equality Act. This bill would politicize medicine by forcing doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to offer drastic procedures—not in view of new scientific discoveries, but by ideological fiat. 

Parents and Children

This politicization of medicine would ultimately harm families by normalizing hormonal and surgical interventions for gender dysphoric children as well as ideological “education” in schools and other public venues. 

80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria no longer feel distressed by their bodies after puberty. Yet activists continue to push their own radical protocol: social transition as young as 4, puberty blocking drugs as young as 9, cross-sex hormones as young as 14, and surgery by 18 (or, in some cases, even younger). 

This protocol could become mandatory in the future. The latest issue of the American Journal of Bioethics includes an article arguing that the state should overrule the parents of gender dysphoric children who do not consent to giving them puberty-blocking drugs. 

By silencing the scientific debate on transgender-affirming therapies through the politicization of medicine, the Equality Act would further normalize this radical protocol, and create an expectation that parents comply. 

In fact, parents in Ohio lost custody of their seventeen-year-old daughter because they declined to put her on testosterone supplements. 

It is no secret that radical gender ideology has found its way into our schools . This bill would stigmatize any and all opposition to such indoctrination.

The Equality Act would put parental rights to make decisions about their children’s medical treatment and education at risk.  

women and girls

Women

The Equality Act would ultimately lead to the erasure of women by dismantling sex-specific facilities, sports, and other female-only spaces.

Sexual orientation and gender identity laws that  open up sex-specific facilities like bathrooms, locker rooms, etc. to members of the opposite sex enable sexual assault. 

For example, Pascha Thomas was forced to remove her child from school after a male classmate assaulted her five-year-old daughter in the girls’ restroom. The boy had access to the girls’ restroom because the school’s policy that grants students access to private facilities on the basis of self-identified gender identity. Administrators refused to change the policy despite Thomas’ complaints. Federal authorities are now investigating the incident. 

The concern with these policies is that predators will take advantage of the law to gain access to victims. Policies like these make women less likely to report incidents and law enforcement less likely to get involved, for fear of being accused of discrimination. 

These policies also leave women at a disadvantage in sex-specific sports and other activities.

Two biological males who identify and compete as women easily took first and second place at the Connecticut State Track Championships.  

Selina Soule, a female runner, lost the race—and the chance to be scouted by college coaches and selected for athletic scholarships. “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts,” she said. “It’s demoralizing.” 

Females of all ages can expect to lose more and more opportunities like these to biological males who have a natural advantage in sports and physical activities. The Equality Act would defeat the entire purpose of Title IX, which was meant to ensure that women would have the same opportunities as men including in sports, and would leave women vulnerable to sexual assault.

non-profits and volunteers

Non-Profits and Volunteers

The Equality Act would also hurt charities, volunteers, and the populations they serve.

State and local sexual orientation and gender identity laws have shut down numerous  faith-based adoption and foster care agencies across the country, in PennsylvaniaNew YorkIllinois, California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

These states wrongly treated the belief that children do best with both a mother and a father as discriminatory, and kids are the ones who are paying the price. With 438,000 children languishing in foster care nationwide, we need more agencies working to help kids find homes, not fewer.

Now charities that admit to the reality of biological sex are under attack too.

In Anchorage, Alaska, a biological male twice tried to gain access to the city’s Downtown Hope Center, a shelter for homeless, abused, and trafficked women. In response, the individual sued the center for alleged “gender identity discrimination.”

A federal sexual orientation and gender identity law could force any charity to open up private facilities—including sex-specific bathrooms, showers, and sleeping areas—to members of the opposite sex.

The Equality Act would cost our country countless charitable organizations, which means fewer institutions would be available to serve populations in need.


The Equality Act actually furthers inequality, especially for women and girls, by punishing anyone who does not affirm a single viewpoint of marriage and biological sex.

A federal sexual orientation and gender identity law would empower the government to interfere in how regular Americans think, speak, and act at home, at school, at work and at play. Any bill promoting such authoritarianism is a danger to our freedoms. 

Equality Act Is Trojan Horse for Abortion Lobby and More

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Should the act ever become law, it would be disastrous for all Americans who care about protecting innocent unborn life.

2. In practice, it could mean that a health care provider would be discriminating on the basis of sex if they refused to perform an abortion procedure.

3. Equally disturbing is the Equality Act’s lack of any conscience protections for individuals with moral or religious objections.

If you search the text of the Equality Act for the term “abortion,” you won’t find it.

And while that might be by design, should the act ever become law, it would be disastrous for all Americans who care about protecting innocent unborn life.

The House of Representatives is set to vote on this dangerous piece of legislation this week. In addition to being a Trojan Horse for abortion promotion, the Equality Act promotes inequality because it would penalize Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex.

The Equality Act would amend federal civil rights law by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes.

In recent years, Heritage Foundation scholars have sounded the alarm about various groups that would be harmed should the act become law, including employers and employees, medical professionals, parents and childrenwomen, and nonprofits and volunteers.

The list doesn’t end there, and pro-life Americans should join the chorus of people rejecting this radical policy.

The Equality Act would have a devastating impact on a host of current pro-life policies and protections. It would lay the groundwork for eliminating prohibitions on taxpayer-funded abortions at the state and federal level; purge existing statutory conscience-protection provisions for pro-life individuals and entities in the context of health care; and nullify hard-fought court battles that upheld religious freedom protections for people and organizations, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns that has spent nearly a decade in litigation over Obamacare’s onerous contraception mandate.

How would the Equality Act accomplish these things, all of which have been highlighted as priorities by the abortion lobby?

The Equality Act adds the term “sex” to Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on public accommodations to mean pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals have interpreted “related medical condition” to include abortion.

Because of the way the Equality Act is drafted, this new definition of sex discrimination—understood to include a medical condition such as abortion—would be applied to areas of law, such as federally assisted programs, public accommodations, and Obamacare’s nondiscrimination provision.

In practice, it could mean that a health care provider would be discriminating on the basis of sex if they refused to perform an abortion procedure; a hospital could be discriminating on the basis of sex if it refused to allow abortions to take place within its facility; and health insurance plans could be discriminating on the basis of sex if they do not include coverage for elective abortions.

The Equality Act specifically states that no claims for relief can be made under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which is the law that provided a pathway for groups such the Little Sisters of the Poor and businesses such as Hobby Lobby to receive relief at the Supreme Court from Obamacare’s onerous contraception mandate.

According to the RFRA, the federal government can substantially burden the exercise of religion without demonstrating a compelling government interest that is accomplished through the least restrictive means possible. The Equality Act is explicitly clear that the legislation nullifies RFRA’s applicability.

Equally disturbing is the Equality Act’s lack of any conscience protections for individuals with moral or religious objections. Federal law has, for more than 40 years, provided for various conscience-protection provisions for individuals and entities in the context of health care.

Those laws protect, for example, a nurse from having to participate in an abortion procedure or certain health plans from covering elective abortions. Such protections ensure that individuals and entities are not compelled to participate in practices that violate their sincere moral, ethical, or religious convictions. The Equality Act ignores that proud tradition.

The Equality Act could lead to changes in school curricula, such as texts that affirm and promote controversial sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) viewpoints. The Equality Act could also be used to override states that have prohibited SOGI curricula. Where states have conversely mandated SOGI curricula, parents and schools do not have access to “opt-out” options.

Planned Parenthood, which has long been involved in exporting sex-education curricula in schools, has in recent years begun offering hormone treatments at some of its affiliate locations. If the Equality Act were to become federal law and public school curricula become further entwined with SOGI ideology, Planned Parenthood is well-positioned to further its presence in public schools and take advantage of an additional avenue to promote both SOGI ideology as well as the organization’s hormone-treatment services.

In other words, additional SOGI curricula could become yet another marketing tool for America’s abortion giant.

The Equality Act is bad policy and incorrectly considers disagreements about fundamental moral and religious beliefs to be discrimination.

Should it become law, it would provide a basis to force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions, put an end to America’s proud tradition of protecting rights of conscience, and further the agenda of the abortion lobby at the expense of unborn children and Americans who care about protecting innocent unborn life. 

Conclusion

President Biden has promised to unify the nation. But candidate Joe Biden also made campaign promises to the radical wing of his party that would widen our social divides. Guess which promises are being honored.

Witness the so-called Equality Act, which candidate Biden vowed to make a priority and which is set to be voted on by the House this week. What’s the Equality Act? And who could be against equality? Don’t let the name fool you.

The act “updates” the law Congress passed primarily to combat ­racism, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes akin to race. So if you have any reservations about gender ideology — as even many progressives do; just ask J.K. Rowling — you’d now be the legal equivalent of Bull Connor.

Rather than finding common-sense, narrowly tailored ways to shield LGBT-identifying Americans from truly unjust discrimination, the bill would act as a sword — to persecute those who don’t embrace newfangled gender ideologies. It would vitiate a sex binary that is quite literally written into our genetic code and is fundamental to many of our laws, not least laws protecting the equality, safety and privacy of women.

The Equality Act would sacrifice the hard-won rights of women, while privileging men who identify as women. If it ­becomes law, such men would have a right to spend the night in battered-women’s shelters, disrobe in women’s locker rooms and compete on women’s sports teams — even at K-12 schools.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the text: “An individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.” So you can keep separate facilities for men and women, but you have to redefine what men and women are. Likewise, you can ­reserve certain jobs only for men or women — think TSA agents doing pat-downs — but you have to let a man who identifies as a woman do strip searches on women.

The act would also massively expand the government’s regulatory reach. The Civil Rights Act, it seems, is too narrow for today’s Democrats. The Equality Act would coerce “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting or legal services,” along with any organization that receives any federal funding.

That’s more or less everyone and everything.

Religious institutions are very much included. Under the Equality Act, religious schools, adoption agencies and other charities would face federal sanction for upholding the teachings of mainstream biology and the Bible, modern ­genetics and Genesis, when it comes to sex and marriage.

They’ll be at risk, because the Equality Act takes our laws on ­racial equality and adds highly ­ideological concepts about sex and gender. But most laws on racism included no religious-liberty protections — unlike, for example Title IX, which includes robust protections for faith-based schools. 

Outrageously, the Equality Act explicitly exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pope Francis would be treated as the legal equivalent of a Jim Crow segregationist. 

It gets worse. Medical doctors, secular and religious, whose ­expert judgment is that sex-reassignment procedures are misguided would now run afoul of our civil-rights laws. If you perform a mastectomy in the case of breast cancer, you will have to perform one on the teenage girl identifying as a boy. All in the name of equality. And no one knows what is required under the act to avoid committing “discrimination” in the case of “nonbinary” gender identities.

The icing on the cake? The act treats any refusal to offer abortion as “pregnancy” discrimination. Decades of conscience protections against abortion extremism at the federal, state and local levels would be undermined.

These threats to our society are just a few reasons why the Orwellian Equality Act should be rejected. To heal and unify the nation on LGBT issues, we must reject unjust discrimination without treating reasonable judgments as discriminatory.

While Democrats present The Equality Act as legislation designed to protect LGTBQ people from discrimination, if passed the law would prove devasting to girls and women.

Given the details of the bill, a better name for this monstrosity of a law would be the “Destroy Our Daughters Act.” That’s because the specific harms that await American daughters all flow from the core problem of The Equality Act: Congress is attempting to enshrine in the law a physical impossibility.

It is physically impossible for a male to become a female, or vice versa, and even a world fluent in Orwellian-speak cannot overcome that reality. Yet that is what some in the 117th Congress of the United States proclaims possible in the proposed Equality Act.

“Sex,” the bill says, includes “gender identity,” which the legislation then describes so broadly it is limited only by a person’s imagination. “Gender identity” in the bill means “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the indiviudals’ designated sex at birth.”

The Equality Act then treats an individual’s self-determined “gender identity” as the individual’s “sex” under the law, and requires Americans to do the same in virtually every aspect of civil society, including public accommodations, public facilities, public education, all federally assisted programs, and employment.

Two substantive provisions of The Equality Act make this redefined reality especially threatening to women and girls. First, The Equality Act provides that “an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”

Under the law, any man or boy claiming a female gender identity could access store dressing rooms, recreational centers’ locker rooms, or school bathrooms. There would be nothing a state, city, school board, or private business could do about this because federal law trumps state law and this federal law defines public accommodations and public facilities so broadly the reach is near-universal.

The second devastating mandate of the Equality Act concerns what is called “bona fide occupational qualification” under Title VII. Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment but allows for an employer to make employment decisions based on “sex” if sex is considered a “bona fide occupational qualification.” Sex constitutes a “bona fide occupational qualification” in cases involving intimate care of clients and customers, such as personal caregivers in nursing homes, or chaperones, counselors, or coaches with access to children in locker rooms or during overnight trips.

The Equality Act expressly provides that where sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, employees qualify for such a position based on their gender identity, not their sex. So, under this proposed bill, an adult man who claims a female gender identity may seek and obtain a job that is limited to women applicants because of the sensitive and intimate job functions involved.

Americans should ask themselves: Do they want a man professing a female gender identity employed in a position so intimate that the law allows an employer to limit the job to female applicants? Parents should ask themselves: Do they want a male coach adorned in women’s attire having access to their daughters in the locker room, on overnight trips, and in lodging at summer camps? That is exactly what The Equality Act demands.

While not as horrifying as the emotional and physical risks American daughters would face should this law pass, from a fairness perspective, the Equality Act also threatens to destroy women’s sports.

We are already witnessing the spectacle of muscle-bound boys sprinting past female opponents in track events in states that have allowed an individual’s gender identity to trump sex. This exhibition of the absurd will only grow under The Equality Act, for two reasons.

First, the Equality Act trumps all state laws, preventing states (or school boards) from addressing the issue on a local level. Second, The Equality Act defines “gender identity” so broadly, a male athlete need only declare his identity as “female” and he qualifies to compete “equally” with girls.

The Left Women’s Liberation Front highlights this problem, noting “The bill doesn’t mention individuals with clinically diagnosed gender dysphoria, or undertaking surgical or hormonal transition, thus making clear that self-declared gender identity would be sufficient to claim protected legal status.”

WOLF calls for its members to oppose this legislation, declaring it’s because: “This bill will also end sports programs and scholarships set aside for women and girls. All such programs will have to admit men and boys who identify themselves as women or girls. Such programs will no longer meet their intended purpose of protecting the rights of women and girls by redressing historical inequality of opportunity.”

The end of women’s sports programs is but a patch to the psychiatric, emotional, and physical harm young girls will face if the Equality Act passes and extreme gender ideology becomes the standard.

“The percentage of young people, especially girls, reporting a struggle with gender dysphoria has increased suddenly and dramatically, in an obvious shift from the previously low number of young people identifying as transgender,” notes the Daily Signal. As journalist Abigail Shrier explains in her new book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” there is a contagion especially affecting “teen girls who are struggling with anxiety and depression.”

As Shrier explains, “All across the West, adolescent girls are suddenly identifying as ‘trans’ with friends, clamoring for hormones and surgeries.” The contagion effect will only get worse if Congress passes the Equality Act, with more young girls seeking experimental treatments that have lifetime consequences.

America’s girls deserve better than to be sacrificed on the altar of the extreme transgender movement that holds the support of powerful politicians and corporate media. To date, all but a few parents have remained silent, either out of misplaced compassion for those declaring themselves transgender or out of fear of public shaming.

But if average Americans don’t rise up now and make their voices heard, it will soon be too late—and their daughters will suffer the consequences.

Resources

heritage.org, “Equality Act Is Trojan Horse for Abortion Lobby and More,” By Melanie Israel; congress.gov, “H.R.5 – Equality Act;” hrc.org, “The Equality Act;” heritage.org, “HERITAGE EXPLAINS: The Equality Act; How Could Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Laws Affect You?”; nypost.com, “Biden’s Equality Act is a danger to women’s and conscience rights,” By Ryan Anderson; the federalist.com, “Why The ‘Equality Act’ Democrats Want To Pass This Week Should Really Be Called The ‘Destroy Our Daughters Act’,” By Margot Cleveland;

Addendum

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Equality Act”.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:
(1) Discrimination can occur on the basis of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition of an individual, as well as because of sex-based stereotypes. Each of these factors alone can serve as the basis for discrimination, and each is a form of sex discrimination.
(2) A single instance of discrimination may have more than one basis. For example, discrimination against a married same-sex couple could be based on the sex stereotype that marriage should only be between heterosexual couples, the sexual orientation of the two individuals in the couple, or both. Discrimination against a pregnant lesbian could be based on her sex, her sexual orientation, her pregnancy, or on the basis of multiple factors.
(3) Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (referred to as “LGBTQ”) people commonly experience discrimination in securing access to public accommodations—including restaurants, senior centers, stores, places of or establishments that provide entertainment, health care facilities, shelters, government offices, youth service providers including adoption and foster care providers, and transportation. Forms of discrimination include the exclusion and denial of entry, unequal or unfair treatment, harassment, and violence. This discrimination prevents the full participation of LGBTQ people in society and disrupts the free flow of commerce.
(4) Women also have faced discrimination in many establishments such as stores and restaurants, and places or establishments that provide other goods or services, such as entertainment or transportation, including sexual harassment, differential pricing for substantially similar products and services, and denial of services because they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
(5) Many employers already and continue to take proactive steps, beyond those required by some States and localities, to ensure they are fostering positive and respectful cultures for all employees. Many places of public accommodation also recognize the economic imperative to offer goods and services to as many consumers as possible.
(6) Regular and ongoing discrimination against LGBTQ people, as well as women, in accessing public accommodations contributes to negative social and economic outcomes, and in the case of public accommodations operated by State and local governments, abridges individuals’ constitutional rights.
(7) The discredited practice known as “conversion therapy” is a form of discrimination that harms LGBTQ people by undermining individuals sense of self worth, increasing suicide ideation and substance abuse, exacerbating family conflict, and contributing to second class status.
(8) Both LGBTQ people and women face widespread discrimination in employment and various services, including by entities that receive Federal financial assistance. Such discrimination—
(A) is particularly troubling and inappropriate for programs and services funded wholly or in part by the Federal Government;
(B) undermines national progress toward equal treatment regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and
(C) is inconsistent with the constitutional principle of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(9) Federal courts have widely recognized that, in enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress validly invoked its powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to provide a full range of remedies in response to persistent, widespread, and pervasive discrimination by both private and government actors.
(10) Discrimination by State and local governments on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In many circumstances, such discrimination also violates other constitutional rights such as those of liberty and privacy under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
(11) Individuals who are LGBTQ, or are perceived to be LGBTQ, have been subjected to a history and pattern of persistent, widespread, and pervasive discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity by both private sector and Federal, State, and local government actors, including in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. An explicit and comprehensive national solution is needed to address such discrimination, which has sometimes resulted in violence or death, including the full range of remedies available under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
(12) Numerous provisions of Federal law expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, and Federal agencies and courts have correctly interpreted these prohibitions on sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex stereotypes. In particular, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission correctly interpreted title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Macy v. Holder, Baldwin v. Foxx, and Lusardi v. McHugh.
(13) The absence of explicit prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under Federal statutory law has created uncertainty for employers and other entities covered by Federal nondiscrimination laws and caused unnecessary hardships for LGBTQ individuals.
(14) LGBTQ people often face discrimination when seeking to rent or purchase housing, as well as in every other aspect of obtaining and maintaining housing. LGBTQ people in same-sex relationships are often discriminated against when two names associated with one gender appear on a housing application, and transgender people often encounter discrimination when credit checks or inquiries reveal a former name.
(15) National surveys, including a study commissioned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, show that housing discrimination against LGBTQ people is very prevalent. For instance, when same-sex couples inquire about housing that is available for rent, they are less likely to receive positive responses from landlords. A national matched-pair testing investigation found that nearly one-half of same-sex couples face adverse, differential treatment when seeking elder housing. According to other studies, transgender people have half the homeownership rate of non-transgender people and about 1 in 5 transgender people experience homelessness.
(16) As a result of the absence of explicit prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, credit applicants who are LGBTQ, or perceived to be LGBTQ, have unequal opportunities to establish credit. LGBTQ people can experience being denied a mortgage, credit card, student loan, or many other types of credit simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
(17) Numerous studies demonstrate that LGBTQ people, especially transgender people and women, are economically disadvantaged and at a higher risk for poverty compared with other groups of people. For example, older women in same-sex couples have twice the poverty rate of older different-sex couples.
(18) The right to an impartial jury of one’s peers and the reciprocal right to jury service are fundamental to the free and democratic system of justice in the United States and are based in the Bill of Rights. There is, however, an unfortunate and long-documented history in the United States of attorneys discriminating against LGBTQ individuals, or those perceived to be LGBTQ, in jury selection. Failure to bar peremptory challenges based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual not only erodes a fundamental right, duty, and obligation of being a citizen of the United States, but also unfairly creates a second class of citizenship for LGBTQ victims, witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants.
(19) Numerous studies document the shortage of qualified and available homes for the 437,000 youth in the child welfare system and the negative outcomes for the many youth who live in group care as opposed to a loving home or who age out without a permanent family. Although same-sex couples are 7 times more likely to foster or adopt than their different-sex counterparts, many child placing agencies refuse to serve same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals. This has resulted in a reduction of the pool of qualified and available homes for youth in the child welfare system who need placement on a temporary or permanent basis. Barring discrimination in foster care and adoption will increase the number of homes available to foster children waiting for foster and adoptive families.
(20) LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system by at least a factor of two and report twice the rate of poor treatment while in care compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts. LGBTQ youth in foster care have a higher average number of placements, higher likelihood of living in a group home, and higher rates of hospitalization for emotional reasons and juvenile justice involvement than their non-LGBTQ peers because of the high level of bias and discrimination that they face and the difficulty of finding affirming foster placements. Further, due to their physical distance from friends and family, traumatic experiences, and potentially unstable living situations, all youth involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers seeking to exploit children. Barring discrimination in child welfare services will ensure improved treatment and outcomes for LGBTQ foster children.
(b) Purpose.—It is the purpose of this Act to expand as well as clarify, confirm and create greater consistency in the protections and remedies against discrimination on the basis of all covered characteristics and to provide guidance and notice to individuals, organizations, corporations, and agencies regarding their obligations under the law.
SEC. 3. PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.

(a) Prohibition On Discrimination Or Segregation In Public Accommodations.—Section 201 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000a) is amended—
(1) in subsection (a), by inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”; and
(2) in subsection (b)—
(A) in paragraph (3), by striking “stadium” and all that follows and inserting “stadium or other place of or establishment that provides exhibition, entertainment, recreation, exercise, amusement, public gathering, or public display;”;
(B) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (6); and
(C) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

“(4) any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency, or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting, or legal services;
“(5) any train service, bus service, car service, taxi service, airline service, station, depot, or other place of or establishment that provides transportation service; and”.
(b) Prohibition On Discrimination Or Segregation Under Law.—Section 202 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000a–1) is amended by inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”.
(c) Rule Of Construction.—Title II of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000a et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
“SEC. 208. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
“A reference in this title to an establishment—
“(1) shall be construed to include an individual whose operations affect commerce and who is a provider of a good, service, or program; and
“(2) shall not be construed to be limited to a physical facility or place.”.
SEC. 4. DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES.
Section 301(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000b(a)) is amended by inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”.
SEC. 5. DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.

(a) Definitions.—Section 401(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000c(b)) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”.
(b) Civil Actions By The Attorney General.—Section 407 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000c–6) is amended, in subsection (a)(2), by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”.
(c) Classification And Assignment.—Section 410 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000c–9) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin”.
SEC. 6. FEDERAL FUNDING.
Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d) is amended by inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin,”.
SEC. 7. EMPLOYMENT.

(a) Rules Of Construction.—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is amended by inserting after section 701 (42 U.S.C. 2000e) the following:
“SEC. 701A. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
“Section 1106 shall apply to this title except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section to an ‘unlawful practice’ shall be considered to be a reference to an ‘unlawful employment practice’.”.
(b) Unlawful Employment Practices.—Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–2) is amended—
(1) in the section header, by striking “SEX,” and inserting “SEX (INCLUDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY),”;
(2) except in subsection (e), by striking “sex,” each place it appears and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”; and
(3) in subsection (e)(1), by striking “enterprise,” and inserting “enterprise, if, in a situation in which sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, individuals are recognized as qualified in accordance with their gender identity,”.
(c) Other Unlawful Employment Practices.—Section 704(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–3(b)) is amended—
(1) by striking “sex,” the first place it appears and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”; and
(2) by striking “employment.” and inserting “employment, if, in a situation in which sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, individuals are recognized as qualified in accordance with their gender identity.”.
(d) Claims.—Section 706(g)(2)(A) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (2000e–5(g)(2)(A)) is amended by striking “sex,” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”.
(e) Employment By Federal Government.—Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–16) is amended—
(1) in subsection (a), by striking “sex,” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”; and
(2) in subsection (c), by striking “sex” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”.
(f) Government Employee Rights Act Of 1991.—The Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–16a et seq.) is amended—
(1) in section 301(b), by striking “sex,” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”;
(2) in section 302(a)(1), by striking “sex,” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
“SEC. 305. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLAIMS.
“Sections 1101(b), 1106, and 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this title except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section 1106 to ‘race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin’ shall be considered to be a reference to ‘race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability’.”.
(g) Congressional Accountability Act Of 1995.—The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) is amended—
(1) in section 201(a)(1) (2 U.S.C. 1311(a)(1)) by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin,”; and
(2) by adding at the end of title II (42 U.S.C. 1311 et seq.) the following:
“SEC. 208. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLAIMS.
“Sections 1101(b), 1106, and 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to section 201 (and remedial provisions of this Act related to section 201) except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section 1106 to ‘race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin’ shall be considered to be a reference to ‘race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age, or disability’.”.
(h) Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978.—Chapter 23 of title 5, United States Code, is amended—
(1) in section 2301(b)(2), by striking “sex,” and inserting “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),”;
(2) in section 2302—
(A) in subsection (b)(1)(A), by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin,”; and
(B) in subsection (d)(1), by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin;”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
“SEC. 2307. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLAIMS.
“Sections 1101(b), 1106, and 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this chapter (and remedial provisions of this title related to this chapter) except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section 1106 to ‘race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin’ shall be considered to be a reference to ‘race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age, a handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation’.”.
SEC. 8. INTERVENTION.
Section 902 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000h–2) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” before “or national origin,”.
SEC. 9. MISCELLANEOUS.
Title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is amended—
(1) by redesignating sections 1101 through 1104 (42 U.S.C. 2000h et seq.) and sections 1105 and 1106 (42 U.S.C. 2000h–5, 2000h–6) as sections 1102 through 1105 and sections 1108 and 1109, respectively;
(2) by inserting after the title heading the following:
“SEC. 1101. DEFINITIONS AND RULES.

“(a) Definitions.—In titles II, III, IV, VI, VII, and IX (referred to individually in sections 1106 and 1107 as a ‘covered title’):
“(1) RACE; COLOR; RELIGION; SEX; SEXUAL ORIENTATION; GENDER IDENTITY; NATIONAL ORIGIN.—The term ‘race’, ‘color’, ‘religion’, ‘sex’ (including ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’), or ‘national origin’, used with respect to an individual, includes—
“(A) the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin, respectively, of another person with whom the individual is associated or has been associated; and
“(B) a perception or belief, even if inaccurate, concerning the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin, respectively, of the individual.
“(2) GENDER IDENTITY.—The term ‘gender identity’ means the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.
“(3) INCLUDING.—The term ‘including’ means including, but not limited to, consistent with the term’s standard meaning in Federal law.
“(4) SEX.—The term ‘sex’ includes—
“(A) a sex stereotype;
“(B) pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition;
“(C) sexual orientation or gender identity; and
“(D) sex characteristics, including intersex traits.
“(5) SEXUAL ORIENTATION.—The term ‘sexual orientation’ means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.
“(b) Rules.—In a covered title referred to in subsection (a)—
“(1) (with respect to sex) pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions; and
“(2) (with respect to gender identity) an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”; and
(3) by inserting after section 1105 the following:
“SEC. 1106. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

“(a) Sex.—Nothing in section 1101 or the provisions of a covered title incorporating a term defined or a rule specified in that section shall be construed—
“(1) to limit the protection against an unlawful practice on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition provided by section 701(k); or
“(2) to limit the protection against an unlawful practice on the basis of sex available under any provision of Federal law other than that covered title, prohibiting a practice on the basis of sex.
“(b) Claims And Remedies Not Precluded.—Nothing in section 1101 or a covered title shall be construed to limit the claims or remedies available to any individual for an unlawful practice on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), or national origin including claims brought pursuant to section 1979 or 1980 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1983, 1985) or any other law, including a Federal law amended by the Equality Act, regulation, or policy.
“(c) No Negative Inference.—Nothing in section 1101 or a covered title shall be construed to support any inference that any Federal law prohibiting a practice on the basis of sex does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or a sex stereotype.
“SEC. 1107. CLAIMS.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”.
SEC. 10. HOUSING.

(a) Fair Housing Act.—The Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.) is amended—
(1) in section 802 (42 U.S.C. 3602), by adding at the end the following:

“(p) ‘Gender identity’, ‘sex’, and ‘sexual orientation’ have the meanings given those terms in section 1101(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“(q) ‘Race’, ‘color’, ‘religion’, ‘sex’ (including ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’), ‘handicap’, ‘familial status’, or ‘national origin’, used with respect to an individual, includes—
“(1) the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), handicap, familial status, or national origin, respectively, of another person with whom the individual is associated or has been associated; and
“(2) a perception or belief, even if inaccurate, concerning the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), handicap, familial status, or national origin, respectively, of the individual.”;
(2) in section 804, by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,” each place that term appears;
(3) in section 805, by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,” each place that term appears;
(4) in section 806, by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,”;
(5) in section 808(e)(6), by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,”; and
(6) by adding at the end the following:
“SEC. 821. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
“Sections 1101(b) and 1106 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this title and section 901, except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section 1101(b) or 1106 to a ‘covered title’ shall be considered a reference to ‘this title and section 901’.
“SEC. 822. CLAIMS.
“Section 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this title and section 901, except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section 1107 to a ‘covered title’ shall be considered a reference to ‘this title and section 901’.”.
(b) Prevention Of Intimidation In Fair Housing Cases.—Section 901 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3631) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act) and gender identity (as such term is defined in section 802 of this Act)),” after “sex,” each place that term appears.
SEC. 11. EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY.

(a) Prohibited Discrimination.—Section 701(a)(1) of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691(a)(1)) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex”.
(b) Definitions.—Section 702 of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691a) is amended—
(1) by redesignating subsections (f) and (g) as subsections (h) and (i), respectively;
(2) by inserting after subsection (e) the following:

“(f) The terms ‘gender identity’, ‘sex’, and ‘sexual orientation’ have the meanings given those terms in section 1101(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“(g) The term ‘race’, ‘color’, ‘religion’, ‘national origin’, ‘sex’ (including ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’), ‘marital status’, or ‘age’, used with respect to an individual, includes—
“(1) the race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), marital status, or age, respectively, of another person with whom the individual is associated or has been associated; and
“(2) a perception or belief, even if inaccurate, concerning the race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), marital status, or age, respectively, of the individual.”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(j) Sections 1101(b) and 1106 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this title, except that for purposes of that application—
“(1) a reference in those sections to a ‘covered title’ shall be considered a reference to ‘this title’; and
“(2) paragraph (1) of such section 1101(b) shall apply with respect to all aspects of a credit transaction.”.
(c) Relation To State Laws.—Section 705(a) of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691d(a)) is amended by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex”.
(d) Civil Liability.—Section 706 of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691e) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(l) Section 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this title, except that for purposes of that application, a reference in that section to a ‘covered title’ shall be considered a reference to ‘this title’.”.
SEC. 12. JURIES.

(a) In General.—Chapter 121 of title 28, United States Code, is amended—
(1) in section 1862, by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,”;
(2) in section 1867(e), in the second sentence, by inserting “(including sexual orientation and gender identity),” after “sex,”;
(3) in section 1869—
(A) in subsection (j), by striking “and” at the end;
(B) in subsection (k), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(l) ‘gender identity’, ‘sex’, and ‘sexual orientation’ have the meanings given such terms under section 1101(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and
“(m) ‘race’, ‘color’, ‘religion’, ‘sex’ (including ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’), ‘economic status’, or ‘national origin’, used with respect to an individual, includes—
“(1) the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), economic status, or national origin, respectively, of another person with whom the individual is associated or has been associated; and
“(2) a perception or belief, even if inaccurate, concerning the race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), economic status, or national origin, respectively, of the individual.”; and
(4) by adding at the end the following:
“§ 1879. Rules of construction and claims
“Sections 1101(b), 1106, and 1107 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall apply to this chapter, except that for purposes of that application, a reference in those sections to a ‘covered title’ shall be considered a reference to ‘this chapter’.”.
(b) Technical And Conforming Amendment.—The table of sections for chapter 121 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“1879. Rules of construction and claims.”.
Passed the House of Representatives May 17, 2019.
Attest:
cheryl l. johnson,   

Clerk.

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