The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which claims to have one overarching mission—to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. economy – decided this week that a key component of its mission was to support the liberal “Equality Act” now being championed by the left in the U.S. House of Representatives. The proposed Act would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
The current Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Thus, businesses, universities, and others covered by the Civil Rights Act cannot discriminate based on whether a person is a man or a woman or whether that person is an African American, a Christian, etc.
The Equality Act, if passed, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes of people and would mandate that men who self-identify as women be allowed to compete as women and use the same facilities as women, placing women at an unfair and significant disadvantage, and consequentially robbing them of a fair opportunity to compete for opportunities created exclusively for women-owned businesses, and even female athletics. That’s even too egregious for feminist groups, like the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF for short) and the Concerned Women for America, who both came out against this bill, arguing it would harm women and girls:
Under current civil rights law employers may hire and assign work on the basis of sex only when it’s a bona fide occupational qualification. These are some jobs and assignments this change will affect, taking away the right of Americans to insist that only someone of the same sex be able to:
- Perform security pat downs or strip searches
- Supervise locker rooms or shared showers
- Handle intimate care for hospital and long-term care patients
- Chaperone a doctor or medical assistant who is providing such care
- Perform intimate medical examinations
- Supervise drug tests
- Supervise children on overnight trips
Also from the summary, “The bill prohibits an individual from being denied 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.” This means that American women will no longer be able to expect any single-sex facilities when using or being required to stay in:
- Shared hospital rooms or wards
- Locker rooms and public or group showers
- Multi-stall bathrooms
- Jails, prisons, or juvenile detention facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Overnight drug rehabilitation centers
- Domestic violence or rape crisis shelters
Women sharing prison showers, emergency shelters, changing rooms, and long-term care facilities with strangers shouldn’t be put in the position of wondering if they can complain about a naked male in their presence, or if that complaint would be a violation of his civil rights.
But back to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber not only supports the Equality Act, but designated it a key vote, putting added pressure on congress-men/congress-women/congress-confused to support the act.
Yet, is the Equality Act really in the best interests of small businesses? Probably not. It would significantly increase the amount of litigation against small businesses. Take, for instance, the case of Colleen Francis. According to a story in The Daily Mail, Francis is a male who identifies as a female. Thus, great consternation took place when underage young women went into the locker room at Evergreen College to find the 45-year old Francis in full view and showing all. Needless to say, the parents were upset. The college, however, claimed that a state law similar to the Equality Act mandated that it allow Francis to use the women’s locker room. That type of fact pattern lends itself to lawsuits from both the Coleen Francis of the world for not being allowed to use their preferred facility and the underage women for viewing the sights of a male in their dressing room.
Plus it would target creative professionals who willingly serve everyone, like photographers, videographers, florist, and bakers, and force them to promote messages and celebrate events that conflict with their beliefs. The Alliance Defending Freedom, who last year won a landmark case in a very similar area, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, has argued that the Equality Act would severly hamper creative professionals. In their case, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO, and requested that its owner, Jack C. Phillips, design and create a cake for their wedding. Phillips declined to do so on the grounds that he does not create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs. The State of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission found discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act and fined Masterpiece Cakeshop. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, taking the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to task for its apparent, and often out-right stated, hostility to religion. The First Amendment does not allow such targeting of religious people by over-eager and under-educated bureaucrats.
In short, this is nothing more than a forcing of a liberal thought system upon the people of America by those who would rather force you and me to agree with their agenda under penalty of law than convince us that their beliefs are right. This move by the thought police is shocking and startling and should be met with defeat in Congress.