Despite its innocuous name, the Equality Act has attracted criticism from Americans alarmed by its potential consequences for religious liberty and women’s sports, in particular.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are apparently not interested in debate, however, and a group of senators from that party recently blocked female athletes from testifying about the likely harm of allowing males to compete with them, according to the Washington Examiner.
For their part, progressives say the Equality Act would prevent discrimination. Many prominent conservatives, however, argue that it would do just the opposite by undermining religious rights and forcing women to compete with men in sports.
Furthermore, critics argue that the act should be defeated because it would require biologically male and biologically female individuals to share gendered spaces including locker rooms.
Both sides dug into their respective positions during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, with Democrats glibly painting their critics as bigots harping on unfounded fears and using religion as a “weapon.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) used his position to exclude testimony from Christina Mitchell, a prospective witness who planned to declare that “females will be eliminated from any meaningful participation and will be subjected to an increased risk of injury in contact sports” if the Equality Act becomes law, as the Examiner reported.
Her daughter, Chelsea, and two other students — Alanna Smith and Selina Soule — were also left out of the hearing.
The students are involved in a Connecticut-based lawsuit challenging the inclusion of males in sporting programs for women and girls.
In defense of the Equality Act, Durbin declared that it “would ensure that LGBTQ Americans are protected from discrimination in public accommodations, education, federally-funded programs, employment, housing…and jury service,” according to ABC News.
Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, on the other hand, insisted that the bill would “coerce people of faith to exit the public square unless they trade their religious beliefs for the reigning ideology of today,” as ABC reported.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) meanwhile weighed in with his own assertion that excluding testimony from female athletes proved that Democrats “didn’t want the American people to hear…about the unfairness to little girls having girls’ sports destroyed because of the radical policies of today’s Democrats.”