The Inequality of H.R. 5

Report Gender

The Inequality of H.R. 5

March 31, 2019 3 min read Download Report
The Heritage Foundation

Summary

The Equality Act would cause substantial harm to many groups of Americans. It would force doctors who do not agree with SOGI ideology to violate their consciences, compel speech for all Americans with “preferred pronoun” policies, destroy women’s and girls’ sports by forced inclusion of biological men and boys, create critical parental-rights concerns, harm charitable organizations that do not affirm SOGI, and endanger women and girls in private facilities. Many of these concerns have come to fruition in the 24 states that have already implemented bills similar to H.R. 5.

Key Takeaways

Americans should be free to live according to their beliefs about marriage and biology without fearing government punishment.

Giving government the power to dictate how we think, speak, and act regarding controversial social issues enshrines inequality into the law.

The so-called Equality Act makes millions of Americans, especially girls and women, unequal if they disagree with the government.

The Issue

The proposed—and utterly misnamed—Equality Act (H.R. 5) poisons the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) and the 1968 Fair Housing Act by turning sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) into protected classes. Supporters claim that these new protected classes merely create a level playing field. However, these alterations change the CRA from a law that upholds equality for all to a weapon for persecuting anyone who does not agree with the newly created social orthodoxies in H.R. 5.

The Equality Act would cause substantial harm to many groups of Americans. It would force doctors who do not agree with SOGI ideology to violate their consciences, compel speech for all Americans with “preferred pronoun” policies, destroy women’s and girls’ sports by forced inclusion of biological men and boys, create critical parental-rights concerns, harm charitable organizations that do not affirm SOGI, and endanger women and girls in private facilities. Many of these concerns have come to fruition in the 24 states that have already implemented bills similar to H.R. 5.

Who Is Hurt by the Equality Act?

Medical Professionals

  • Doctors and medical facilities would be forced to embrace gender identity affirmation treatments and procedures:
    • Medical professionals nationwide would be forced to treat gender dysphoria in accordance with transgender ideology, despite their expert opinions.
    • They could be forced to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs for children at age 11, cross-sex hormones at 16, and sex-change surgeries at 18.
    • Counselors could be forced to officially affirm transgender ideology and same-sex coupling.

Employers and Businesses

  • Employers and businesses with 15 or more employees would face more regulation and more litigation:
    • Businesses that do not adhere to preferred pronoun policies would face litigation.
    • They would also be forced to provide medical insurance for “gender transitions.”
    • Regardless of the kind of business, employers and owners will be forced to open any single-sex space—bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms—to both sexes.

Parents

  • Parents rights would be undermined:
    • Parents who choose not to subject their child to puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones could be charged with child abuse and have their parental rights terminated. Side effects of these drugs include sterilization, loss of bone density, cognitive decline, increased risk of certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Women and Girls

  • Women and girls would lose out in athletics and be physically endangered:
    • Women and girl athletes would be forced to compete against biological men and boys. This leads to serious safety concerns as well as the complete reversal of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, which was implemented to create equal opportunities in women’s athletics and scholastics.
    • With the federal implementation of shared bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and sleeping facilities, the CRA would expose women and girls to uncomfortable situations and increased risk of sexual assault.

Nonprofit Organizations and Volunteers

  • Nonprofits, even those based on religious affiliations, face closure and litigation:
    • Any nonprofit that does not affirm SOGI policy through same-sex marriage benefits, medical insurance coverage for “gender transitions,” opening bathrooms and locker rooms to either sex, and mandating preferred pronoun policies will be vulnerable under H.R. 5.
    • Women’s shelters, adoption agencies, and charities will be subject to SOGI “discrimination” lawsuits.
    • Since H.R. 5 explicitly states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be raised as a defense for non-compliance, religious organizations that do not affirm SOGI rules could be shut down.

 

SOGI Consequences 2

 

The threat is real.
These stories are not hypothetical:

  • Women and girls. A man has sued a shelter for abused women in Alaska for denying him admission, and newspapers regularly report on female athletes robbed of championships and scholarship opportunities by biological males who are allowed to compete as females.
  • Parents. Parents in Ohio lost custody of their daughter when they refused to allow cross-sex hormones for her at 17.
  • Doctors. Hospitals in New Jersey and California have been sued because their doctors refused to remove reproductive organs from healthy patients.
  • Employers. Employers who have not fulfilled these requirements in states with SOGI laws have been subject to discrimination lawsuits, such as Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado.

 

SOGI Consequences 01

Authors

The Heritage Foundation