As part of my crusade against the dysfunction that has become Republican party politics, I am doing a four-part serieis on the proposed Equality Act. I intend to use reason and principle to outline Conservative objection to the bill and provide a forum for civil discussion.
Today I will discuss the first of three questions: Is there really a LGBTQ crisis that requires federal action?
Governing by Crisis
Far too often, government uses crises (real or imaginary) to justify action. September 11th led to the Patriot Act; Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction led to the Iraqi war; the Great Recession led to an $800 billion stimulus package, corporate bailouts and unprecedented tactics by the federal reserve; the health insurance crisis led to Obama Care; and Covid-19 led to restrictions on commerce and private conduct and two stimulus packages totaling almost $3 trillion.
Rahm Emmanuel spoke for fans of government expansion when he said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Corollaries to this rule might include: “Don’t have a crisis? Invent one!” Or “Crisis isn’t compelling enough? Exaggerate it.”
Don’t get me wrong. Real crises can justify serious federal action. For example, Abraham Lincoln was justified in conducting a civil war, issuing an executive order and lobbying for an amendment to the Constitution to combat the evil that was slavery.
But Conservatives believe that government intervention in our lives is a very serious matter that should happen sparingly. Before our rights are restricted, government needs to show a compelling reason.
Is There a LGBTQ Cirsis
The Equality Act suggests that the federal government has a compelling reason in protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Many non-LGBTQ people have absolutely no LGBTQ discrimination issues and welcome people from that community wholly into their lives and into society, but, just as with any other human interaction, attitudes and behaviors toward LGBTQ individuals vary widely.
Some people are afraid of (or even hate) them and don’t want anything to do with them or even want to hurt them.
Some are uncomfortable with their lifestyle, or see it as sinful, and don’t want to provide services that suggest endorsement.
Some have no discrimination issues with gay individuals, but feel that allowing gender choice to infringe upon privacy or gender-based activities (such as womens’ sports) is wrong.
Their “right” to conduct their lives in accordance with their feelings and opinions smacks directly into the “right” of LGBTQ persons to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This is indeed a difficult situation, but is it a crisis worthy of federal intervention?
Show Me the Evidence
In the text of the Act, authors attempt to outline a “history and pattern of persistent, widespread, and pervasive discrimination” against LGBTQ people, but he Act provides little real evidence of such mass discrimination.
While text of the bill itself may not be the place to present such evidence, one would think it would be found in the websites supporting the bill. I have looked and find only emotional pleas and repetitive anecdotal accounts.
Or perhaps we would hear it in the floor debate on the bill, but I sat through through both the 2019 and 2021 floor debates (on CSPAN) and heard only anecdote and emotion from proponents.
And don’t even ask about the evidence presented in the judicial committee because Democrats brought this bill directly to the floor of the house, bypassing the judiciary committee debate and hearings.
In my opinion, the proponents of the bill have failed to provide evidence of “persistent, widespread and pervasive discrimination.” Without such evidence, reasonable people should seriously question the need for such massive federal intervention.
But that leaves us with the question: Can we help LGBTQ people without massive federal intervention? We’ll consider that question next time.
Until then, please feel free to comment. Civilly!
Next: An appreciated detour.