UPDATE: The House has passed the bill by a vote of 236-173.
Only eight Republicans voted in favor of it.
Hse approves Equality Act to protect LGBTQ rights. Some Republicans say it goes too far. Vote was 236-173. All 173 nays were from GOPers. 8 GOP yeas. BrooksIN Diaz-Balart Fitzpatrick Hurd Katko Reed Stefanik Walden.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 17, 2019
Congress is voting on the Equality Act on Friday, and if you just read the title offered by its Democratic authors you'd think passing it was a no brainer. But Republicans who've read the fine print have found several holes in it.
The legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to characteristics protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. To Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the bill is "a top priority because equality for the LGBTQ community is a top priority" for the party.
But Republicans have a different perspective. The legislation imposes "top-down, government-led discrimination against all Americans who hold a differing view of human sexuality and gender,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) said at a press conference on Thursday.
The Equality Act, she declared, "is a vote against parents, it’s a vote against women, it’s a vote against doctors, it’s a vote against educators, it’s a vote against children.”
Her colleagues couldn't agree more.
The #EqualityAct is an assault on religious liberty, the unborn, and the Constitution, epitomizing the very worst of the radical left's agenda. As a bill that violates the deeply-held, moral convictions of Americans, I'll be voting "no" without hesitation. https://t.co/JBuqRx9Fei— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) May 16, 2019
“The Equality Act represents the absolute worst of the radical-left’s pro-infanticide, anti-conscience agenda," Rep. Banks said in a statement. "By amending the definition of ‘sex’ in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this legislation codifies a fundamental right to an abortion up until the moment of birth. It also ensures that American taxpayers foot the bill for these abortions by effectively eliminating Hyde protections – protections I recently pledged to uphold in a letter to Speaker Pelosi.”
“Additionally, the so-called ‘Equality Act’ would undermine President Bill Clinton’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 by forcing health care providers to perform abortions and gender reassignment surgeries regardless of their religious or moral convictions. This egregious abuse of Americans’ First Amendment rights is why I will be voting no without hesitation.”
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy won't be voting "yes" either.
"The Democrats’ latest piece of legislation is another mirage, packaged with a deceiving title, that ultimately chips away at our religious freedoms, would jeopardize Title IX sports programs, and puts our children at risk by eliminating parental consent in life-altering medical procedures,” he said.