This is the last in a series of articles discussing the Equality Act. Previous articles discussed why I chose to consider this particular piece of legislation, asked if the LGBTQ community faced a crisis of sufficient magnitude as to warrant changing our civil rights laws, took a detour to consider the comments of some readers and asked: Is the Equality Act the best way to solve the LGBTQ discrimination problem? Today we look at some intended and unintended consequences.
Today it may seem as though Grandpa is blasting an effort by good people to prevent discrimination and relieve suffering and confusion, but that is not the case. The truth is that the Equality Act, however well-intentioned, will actually cause significant harm on the way to doing a little good.
I’ve lived long enough to know that every new law is like an iceberg, with a lot of its consequences lying beneath the surface. Above the surface are the intended consequences promoted by its proponents. Under the surface lie all the others – some intended, but hidden by supporters and others unforeseen.
The Equality Act is no exception.
Above the surface and clearly promoted, the Equality Act is designed to drastically change the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding the new protected class of “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity)”. That is about all the promoters of the bill talk about, but the bill would do much more. It would:
- eliminate any discrimination defense based on freedom of religion, not just for the new protected class, but for all protected classes.
- make gender identity solely a matter of personal choice.
- make it illegal to deny “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.”
- broaden the term “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions” and require that such conditions “shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.”
Obvious to anyone who has thought this issue through, is the slew of less-expected consequences this law would open up. It would:
- require medical professionals (regardless of moral or professional objections) to provide hormonal and surgical treatment to patients suffering from gender dysphoria.
- prohibit therapists from counseling those wishing to overcome same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.
- limit parental rights in cases where gender dysphoric children disagree with their opinions regarding medical procedures and therapy.
- disallow faith-based adoption and foster care organizations from placing children in families and homes where they believe they would receive the best care.
- make it much more difficult to provide privacy and protection for women in the criminal justice system, as well as homeless and abuse shelters.
- require the government to provide sex-change medical treatment and therapy to prison inmates.
- make it difficult to continue the progress women have made in many areas of society, but most strikingly in women’s sports.
Great video from Praeger University on danger of young girls rushing gender transition and importance of parental guidance.
How far can it go?
Pathways to other unexpected consequences are not as clear, but experience has taught us that they are certainly possible, given the law. Grandpa asks:
Could medical professionals and institutions be required to provide contraception and abortion on demand?
Will officiators be allowed to perform legally binding marriages for heterosexual couples, if they refuse to perform them for homosexual couples?
Would faith-based organizations and individuals with objections to LGBTQ behaviors opt (or be forced) out of good works over discrimination claims?
Might not victims of sexual assault (or police or prosecutors) find it stigmatic to report (or prosecute) sex crimes involving perpetrators protected under the new law?
Would places of public accommodation be required to allow mothers to openly nurse their children?
A Litmus Test?
In the 2019 hearings, efforts to amend the bill, in order to forestall various unintended or undesirable consequences, were voted down by the Democratic majority. This year, the bill didn’t even get a hearing in the House, but was brought directly to the floor and passed by that same party.
This leaves the American Grandpa to conclude that they either don’t care about protecting us from the possible disastrous consequences or have intended them all along.