President Biden’s “Equality Act” has more consequences than you may realize

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The Christian flag flying next to the American flag, symbolizing the religious freedoms in America.

Madeline Marshall, Section Editor

The first amendment of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” The Equality Act that has been pushed by President Biden and then passed by Congress, imposes a threat to our first amendment rights.

The bill would enforce businesses, churches, and any other place where members of the LGBTQ+ community may exist, to prohibit any form of discrimination in the process of hiring or who is a allowed onto their property.

The Equality Act will trump  the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which ensured that interests in religious freedoms are protected.

Although  it is important for these people to feel safe, the bill would force people to allow anybody in bathrooms despite their biological gender. This creates an unsafe environment for children and women if they have to share a private space with men.

Not only will women have to give up their bathrooms, they have to give up their sports as well. Women have worked so hard to create equal opportunities as men in their own sports, but as soon as men are accepted into women’s sports, all of the hard work for equality is lost.

People who disagree with the LGBTQ+ community due to their religion, will be forced to violate their own beliefs and threatened to do so by the government. This tightens the range of freedom of speech for those who disagree with the bill and what it means.

Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a professor at Shawnee State University, was punished by the University for not addressing a student by their preferred pronoun. He offered to call them by their first or last name only, but that didn’t satisfy the school.

It might have sounded like just a big hassle, but due to Meriwether’s religious beliefs, he refused to use the preferred pronoun. If the Equality Act were in play, not only could he lose his job, but he could also be punished by law.

The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Happiness is a given right in America, and feeling included and welcomed is part of what America stands for. All members of the LGBTQ+ community should be able to feel welcomed and comfortable anywhere without regards to their sexuality.

The fact is that this bill, if passed, will strip many people of their right to exercise free religion and their right to freedom of speech. 

But there is a difference between being free and comfortable. Anybody is free to do what they want under the law, but they are not entitled to control or change others.