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BecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseBecauseYES: Congressshould pass theEquality ActShould Congress Pass theEquality Act?You decide!DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:1. How should we weigh the competing claims of civil libertyand religious liberty?2. The "CON" side argues that the Equality Act will harmwomen. Do you find this persuasive?3. When does legitimate disagreement about issues of genderand sexuality become discrimination?The bill is simply anextension of thebroadly acceptedtenets of the CivilRights act to LGBTQpeople specifically"Just as [a business] would notbe able to turn awaysomebody for any otherprohibited reason in the law,they would not be able to dothat for LGBTQ people either,"-Ian Thompson, ACLUThe bill would expandexisting civil rightsprotections to includeentertainmentvenues, places thatsell goods andservices, andtransportationservicesIt is long overdue forLGBTQ anti-discrimination laws tobe extended27 states still do nothave LGBTQ anti-discrimination lawsMore than 80% ofAmericans - including68% of Republicans -support laws toprotect LGBTQ peoplefrom discriminationAt least 72 othercountries haveadopted similar anti-discriminationprotections, includingthe overwhelmingmajority of countriesin Europe and theAmericasThe bill would cementprotections forLGBTQ people thatwould otherwise beleft up to oneperson'sinterpretationWithout the EqualityAct, future presidentsmay issue executiveorders thatundermine theprotections thatPresident Biden hasput in placeThe ReligiousFreedom RestorationAct (RFRA) has beenmisusedIn 2014, a federalmagistrate judgecited RFRA in rulingthat a member of theChurch of Jesus Christof Latter-Day Saintscould not be requiredto cooperate in aninvestigation of childlabor law violations.The RFRA providescover for states topass religious libertylaws that allowbusinesses todiscriminate againstLGBTQ peopleThe Equality Actwould ensure that theRFRA cannot bemisused as a licenseto discriminateThe Equality Actwould benefitemployers, landlordsand businessesCurrently, thesegroups are subject toa convolutedpatchwork of statelaws, municipalordinances andjudicialinterpretations,making it difficult todetermine the scopeof their obligationsNO: Congress should notpass the Equality ActThe Equality Act couldendanger or harmwomenThe bill would threatenthe existence ofshelters that arrangetheir housing accordingto biological sex, suchas happened in AlaskaShelters arrangedaccording tobiological sex areimportant forprotecting vulnerablewomen, such as thosewho have beenvictims of domesticabuse, rape or sextraffickingThe bill would ruinwomen's sportsBiological malesidentifying as femalesare alreadyoutperformingbiological females invarious sportsThe Equality Actwould only make thistrend worseThe Fairness For AllAct should be passedinsteadThe Fairness For AllAct protects civilliberties for LGBTQindividuals while alsoproviding protectionsfor people of faithThe bill goes too farin limiting people'sability to defendthemselves againstdiscrimination claimsA UVA law professorsaid "It protects therights of one side, butattempts to destroythe rights of the otherside," and "We oughtto protect the libertyof both sides to livetheir own lives bytheir own identitiesand their ownvalues."The bill threatens theexistence of businessesand organizations thatbenefit societyThe bill couldthreaten theexistence of manyfaith-based adoptionagenciesMany such agencieshave policies ofplacing children onlyin homes that haveboth a male and afemale caregiverFaith-based adoptionagencies areextremely effectiveOne faith-basedagency in Arkansashelped recruit almosthalf of the state'sfoster familiesAnother faith-basedagency helped cut inhalf the number ofchildren in Coloradowaiting to be adoptedBACKGROUND:The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly preventdiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill haspassed the House twice, but now awaits a vote in the Senate.The Civil Rights Act covered discrimination in certain areas, like employmentand housing. The Equality Act would expand that to cover federally fundedprograms, as well as "public accommodations" — a broad category includingretail stores and stadiums, for example.Importantly, the bill also explicitly says that it trumps the Religious FreedomRestoration Act (RFRA). So under the Equality Act, an entity (such as a church ornonprofit) couldn't use RFRA as a defense against a claim of discrimination.

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