The Equality Act, a bill that has been called “the most radical assault on religious liberty, the right to life, and privacy rights ever packaged into one bill” was recently introduced in Congress by Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Our bishops immediately voiced strong opposition to this radical piece of legislation, urging Catholics to contact their elected officials in Washington and tell them to oppose it. Among other things, the bishops warn that the Equality Act:
• Forces religiously operated spaces and establishments, such as church halls, to either host functions that violate their beliefs or close their doors to their communities
• Requires women to compete against men and boys in sports, and to share locker rooms and shower facilities with men and boys
• Forces faith-based charities that serve all people to violate their religious beliefs, and threatens the welfare of thousands of beneficiaries of charitable services such as shelters and foster care agencies, by forcing a multitude of them to be shut down
• Jeopardizes existing prohibitions on the use of federal taxpayer funds for abortion
• Hinders quality health care, by forcing health care professionals, against their best medical judgment, to support treatments and procedures associated with “gender transition.”
Make no mistake about it, the Equality Act is a bad bill — especially for Catholics and other people of faith.