The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has made known its serious reservations about the “equality” act, introduced in the House of Representatives on February 18, in a letter addressed directly to representatives and senators.
The act provides for recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as protected legal categories in various areas: housing, education, and public spaces.
The bishops see it as an attack on religious freedom, as the law would require recognition of LGBT categories and transgender ideology, regardless of religious beliefs.
“Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the equality act would discriminate against people of faith,” the USCCB warned.
The act, the conference continued, would support transgender ideology by requiring that “girls and women compete with boys and men in sport, and share locker rooms and showers with biological men who identify as women.”
The act could also require doctors to perform gender transition operations. Likewise, pro-life groups have also said the act could expand abortions by deeming refusal to perform abortions as illegal “pregnancy discrimination.”
Groups opposed to redefining marriage would also be “doomed” by the act, the USCCB said.
Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, agreed that the act would “persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.” Religious schools and charities could “face federal sanction for acting according to basic biology and the dominant Biblical teaching about sex and marriage,” he added.
Anderson said the act prioritizes “men who identify as women” over the safety of women.
He claims that if the act becomes law, “Pope Francis would be treated as the legal equivalent of a segregationist like Jim Crow” because of his opposition to transgender ideology and the redefinition of marriage.
And no one - not even the godfathers of the act - can tell us what would be necessary to avoid “discrimination” in the case of “non-binary” gender identities, concluded Mr. Anderson. A “non-binary” person does not recognize himself as a man or a woman.
President Joe Biden, who celebrated a same-sex marriage in 2016, signed an executive order on January 20 “preventing and combating discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.” This decree sets out his administration’s policy on recognizing federal civil rights protections in matters of sexual orientation and gender identity.
One of his election promises guaranteed a law on sexual orientation and gender identity to be signed within the first 100 days of his government.