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house Bill H.R. 5

Should Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Be Considered ‘Protected Classes’ Under Civil Rights Law?

Argument in favor

The law needs to protect those people who could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Adding them to the list of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act will give discrimination victims recourse.

jimK's Opinion
···
02/21/2021
If there are any systemic or systematic impediments to any ‘other’ people due to their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, sexual preferences, age, disability or skin color - then it is necessary to address those impediments in all ways possible. It is the viewpoint of the framers, the founders, and America that all people are created equal and all ‘equal’ people should have ‘equal’ opportunity to find their own forms of success within our country. It is and has been the core strength of our country to have accepted many ‘other’ people and to judge them upon the strength of their character, abidance with our laws and accepting our institutional norms. Unfortunately, systemic, legal and normative practices still exist which limits some ‘others’ from attaining equal opportunity. These limitations do not reflect our country’s core values, they diminish us and they make our country weaker. I support any and all efforts to correct these injustices that keep fellow American human beings from being able to find their own successes and contribute fully to our country’s strength - which derives from collectively working with all people and gaining from their perspectives and experience.
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burrkitty's Opinion
···
02/25/2021
The ignorance of the Nay section shows exactly why this is needed! “There is only boy or girl” “There is only XX and XY” They can’t even get the basic biology correct. Even if we totally ignored hormones and focus only on genetics, there are SIX karyotype sexes in humans. Surprise! I’m not even going to TRY and explain that “gender”,”sex”,and “orientation” are three totally different things that are related but independent. Or the enormous influence of hormones. Even today, we irrationally, and rather stupidly, think of someone as a “man” if they look masculine and as a “woman” if the look feminine. It’s entirely arbitrary and can lead to some significant misunderstandings of how the world actually works. Life is complex, y’all. It Is Possible for Your Brain, Your Body, and Your Reproductive Systems to All Have Different Biological Sexes. Let that sink in. I repeat: LIFE IS COMPLEX. It’s probably time to recognize that while just about 90% of us are basic male or female, in a world with so many billions of people, that 10% is a heck of a lot of folks who are something else. Trying to shove them into a binary system when the universe itself is not binary in this matter is a form of the mental model known as “greedy reductionism”. It stigmatizes them for a trait that is entirely benign and it damages us by causing us to ignore the complex reality in favor of a simplistic binary illusion; something that should be anathema to a rational thinker.
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larubia's Opinion
···
02/24/2021
UPDATED: Based upon the continued discrimination of LGBTQ, it would be just to have these groups protected under Civil Rights’ legislation! I agree with Surrender & Science. Folks, you do know that in God’s creation there exist bugs that literally are half male, half female, worms & snails have both genitalia, some fish can even switch their sex when they need to grow the population. If God created this, I don’t see how she could be upset with anyone other those who judge.
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Argument opposed

States are already adopting laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Alternatively, the federal government shouldn’t compel business owners to engage in activities that go against their religious beliefs.

David's Opinion
···
02/22/2021
Gender is based on science, we have laws in place to protect individuals against discrimination based on gender. It is absurd that we are wasting tax payers time and money based on an individual’s subjective identity of themselves that they can change on a whim.
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B.R.'s Opinion
···
02/25/2021
While I do not condone discrimination of any kind, I believe this bill is premature. There are issues that need to be addressed first. While there are areas that are clear, eg: housing, employment, etc., there are other areas that are more challenging. For example, gender identity implications in sports, bathroom utilization, etc. Sometimes I feel like this administration is diving into a pool without first looking to see whether there is water in it. Decisions are being made without any consideration of the consequences.
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Kyle's Opinion
···
02/25/2021
This is the most ridiculous thing science which the left claims that they want to follow as long as it meets their needs proves that there are only two genders male and female or XX XY chromosomes any other is gender dysphoria which is a mental disorder it has been written about in dozens of university research papers but because it doesn’t go with the “progressive narrative“ those studies are blown off as being sexist or discriminatory which are the liberals key talking points along with racist if they don’t agree with what you say or what science proves just like science has proven global warming is not an issue The earth has been here for millions of years before us it will be here millions of years after us as for the I can identify with whatever I want and you have to agree with it no it is irreconcilable it is in mall and it hurts the real two genders but nobody cares about discrimination against those just a made up ones
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What is House Bill H.R. 5?

This bill would turn sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) into protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act, thereby banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination (through changes to existing civil rights laws) in “public accommodations” and federal funding on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The definition of public accommodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be expanded to cover nearly every entity that offers goods, services, or programs — including retailers, banks, transportation, recreational centers, and healthcare providers, among others. For example, public restrooms count as a “public accommodation”, so it’d be illegal to deny a person access to a public restroom (or a locker room or dressing room) based on their gender identity.

Defendants against discrimination claims wouldn’t be allowed to use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense to alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Additionally, the bill would allow the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity. It could initiate also cases against state and local governments for discrimination that occurs in publicly owned facilities other than schools and colleges.

Existing protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, disability status, and national origin.

Impact

Those who could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, public and private entities, the Dept. of Justice, and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) reintroduced this bill from the 116th Congress to extend anti-discrimination protections under existing civil rights law to LGBTQ Americans:

“In 2021, every American should be treated with respect and dignity. Yet, in most states, LGBTQ people can be discriminated against because of who they are, or who they love. It is past time for that to change. I’m proud to introduce the Equality Act today, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Merkley to get this bill signed into law.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion, says:

“All of us go to work and school, go home, and go shopping, and none of us should have to keep our families hidden or pretend to be someone we’re not to do those things. But in 29 states, Americans can still be evicted, be thrown out of a restaurant, or be denied a loan because of who they are or whom they love. We all love the vision of America as a land of freedom and equality, but are we willing to take the steps to make that vision closer to reality? Let’s make 2021 the year the Equality Act crosses the finish line and is signed into law by President Biden.”

President Joe Biden has made this bill’s passage a priority for his first 100 days in office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who says this bill is “about ending discrimination,” also supports this legislation. She says:

“Our nation was founded on the promise that all are created equal and are worthy of dignity and respect, regardless of who they are or whom they love. With the reintroduction of the Equality Act, Congressional Democrats are making a resounding commitment to this truth: that all Americans must be treated equally under the law, not just in the workplace, but in every place. The Democratic House will now swiftly pass this landmark legislation and will keep working until it is finally enacted into law – so that we can combat anti-LGBTQ discrimination that undermines our democracy and advance justice in America.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) supports this legislation. On the day of this bill’s reintroduction, it said:

“Achieving LGBTQ equality is a unifying issue for our nation. Today, the Equality Act was reintroduced in Congress with broad support from a majority of people in this country, hundreds of Members of Congress and an unprecedented number of businesses who believe that every person should be treated equally under the law. While President Biden’s Executive Order implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling was a crucial step in addressing discrimination against LGBTQ people, it’s still vital that Congress pass the Equality Act to codify the Bostock decision to ensure protection in key areas of life including where existing civil rights laws do not have protections on the basis of sex.”

Last Congress, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) added:

“Congress must pass the Equality Act without delay.  The Trump Administration, as we were reminded yesterday with its ban on transgender Americans serving in our military and with its guidance making it harder for transgender students to attend school, has embraced a policy of discrimination against the LGBT community.  The President may have broken his promises to LGBT Americans, but House Democrats will never stop fighting for equality, justice, and respect for all. We must ensure that every American, no matter who they love or how they identify, has every opportunity to make it in America.”

House Republicans have largely expressed opposition to this bill. Last year, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) said he was “deeply troubled” by the fact that the bill “effectively guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” He added:

“This bill is following in the tradition of others we have seen so far throughout this Congress. A clever name, an allegedly noble purpose, but a vehicle for serious, harmful consequences.”

During a committee hearing in the 116th Congress, Julia Beck, a lesbian feminist who was removed from the Baltimore LGBT Commission for describing a male transgender rapist as a male and saying that men can’t be lesbians, expressed opposition to this bill because it’d mean that:

“Male rapists will go to women’s prisons and likely assault female inmates as has already happened in the U.K.; female survivors of rape will be unable to contest male presence in women’s shelters; men will dominate women’s sports -- girls who would have taken first place will be denied scholastic opportunity; women who use male pronouns to talk about men may be arrested, fined, and banned from social media platforms; girls will stay home from school when they have their periods to avoid harassment by boys in mixed-space toilets; girls and women will no longer have a right to ask for female medical staff or intimate care providers, including elderly or disabled women who are at serious risk of sexual abuse; female security officers will no longer have the right to refuse to perform pat-downs or intimate searches of males who say they’re female and women undergoing security checks will no longer have the right to refuse to perform to refuse having those security checks being performed by men claiming a feminine identity… Everything I just listed is already happening and it’s only going to get worse if gender identity is recognized in federal law. I urge my fellow Democrats to wake up. Please acknowledge biological reality.”

In a report for the Heritage Foundation, Richard and Helen DeVos Center Director Emilie Kao argued that this bill would create “obvious liberty, equality, privacy, and safety concerns” by empowering the federal government to impose civil and criminal punishments on citizens who dissent from SOGI ideology; politicizing medicine by forcing doctors to treat gender dysphoria according to recommendations by transgender activists; and increasing pressure on parents to permit hormone and surgery experiments on their children to address gender dysphoria. Kao concluded:

“H.R. 5 would empower the federal government to impose civil and criminal punishments on citizens who dissent from SOGI ideology, including medical professionals, parents, women and girls, businesses, and charities. The bill would violate their rights to freedom of conscience, religion, and speech. The bill would also take away basic authorities of local communities to determine who is allowed in single-sex facilities and whether biological men and boys are allowed to join women’s and girls’ sports teams."

This legislation has the support of 223 Democratic House cosponsors in the 117th Congress.It is also supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, the Urban League, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others.

In 2019, this legislation passed the House by a mostly party-line vote of 236-173 with the support of 240 bipartisan cosponsors, including 237 Democrats and three Republicans. However, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked it from further consideration. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), had 46 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 43 Democrats, two Independents, and one Republican, and did not receive a committee vote.


Of NoteProponents of this bill cite the 31 states without laws on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While that doesn’t make it legal to discriminate on those grounds in those states, it does mean that such incidents have to be resolved through the judicial system via other claims — by local governments, or the policies of the company in question.

The enactment of laws in Mississippi and North Carolina preventing trans people from using single-sex restrooms ignited a national debate about discrimination based on a person's gender identity (the North Carolina bill was subsequently partially repealed). While similar proposals have been introduced in several other states, they have either stalled, been defeated, or vetoed.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell and Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Crcjfly via Wikimedia / Public Domain)

AKA

Equality Act

Official Title

To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed February 25th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 224 Yea / 206 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedFebruary 18th, 2021

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    If there are any systemic or systematic impediments to any ‘other’ people due to their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, sexual preferences, age, disability or skin color - then it is necessary to address those impediments in all ways possible. It is the viewpoint of the framers, the founders, and America that all people are created equal and all ‘equal’ people should have ‘equal’ opportunity to find their own forms of success within our country. It is and has been the core strength of our country to have accepted many ‘other’ people and to judge them upon the strength of their character, abidance with our laws and accepting our institutional norms. Unfortunately, systemic, legal and normative practices still exist which limits some ‘others’ from attaining equal opportunity. These limitations do not reflect our country’s core values, they diminish us and they make our country weaker. I support any and all efforts to correct these injustices that keep fellow American human beings from being able to find their own successes and contribute fully to our country’s strength - which derives from collectively working with all people and gaining from their perspectives and experience.
    Like (159)
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    Gender is based on science, we have laws in place to protect individuals against discrimination based on gender. It is absurd that we are wasting tax payers time and money based on an individual’s subjective identity of themselves that they can change on a whim.
    Like (80)
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    The ignorance of the Nay section shows exactly why this is needed! “There is only boy or girl” “There is only XX and XY” They can’t even get the basic biology correct. Even if we totally ignored hormones and focus only on genetics, there are SIX karyotype sexes in humans. Surprise! I’m not even going to TRY and explain that “gender”,”sex”,and “orientation” are three totally different things that are related but independent. Or the enormous influence of hormones. Even today, we irrationally, and rather stupidly, think of someone as a “man” if they look masculine and as a “woman” if the look feminine. It’s entirely arbitrary and can lead to some significant misunderstandings of how the world actually works. Life is complex, y’all. It Is Possible for Your Brain, Your Body, and Your Reproductive Systems to All Have Different Biological Sexes. Let that sink in. I repeat: LIFE IS COMPLEX. It’s probably time to recognize that while just about 90% of us are basic male or female, in a world with so many billions of people, that 10% is a heck of a lot of folks who are something else. Trying to shove them into a binary system when the universe itself is not binary in this matter is a form of the mental model known as “greedy reductionism”. It stigmatizes them for a trait that is entirely benign and it damages us by causing us to ignore the complex reality in favor of a simplistic binary illusion; something that should be anathema to a rational thinker.
    Like (125)
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    UPDATED: Based upon the continued discrimination of LGBTQ, it would be just to have these groups protected under Civil Rights’ legislation! I agree with Surrender & Science. Folks, you do know that in God’s creation there exist bugs that literally are half male, half female, worms & snails have both genitalia, some fish can even switch their sex when they need to grow the population. If God created this, I don’t see how she could be upset with anyone other those who judge.
    Like (62)
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    While I do not condone discrimination of any kind, I believe this bill is premature. There are issues that need to be addressed first. While there are areas that are clear, eg: housing, employment, etc., there are other areas that are more challenging. For example, gender identity implications in sports, bathroom utilization, etc. Sometimes I feel like this administration is diving into a pool without first looking to see whether there is water in it. Decisions are being made without any consideration of the consequences.
    Like (42)
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    This is the most ridiculous thing science which the left claims that they want to follow as long as it meets their needs proves that there are only two genders male and female or XX XY chromosomes any other is gender dysphoria which is a mental disorder it has been written about in dozens of university research papers but because it doesn’t go with the “progressive narrative“ those studies are blown off as being sexist or discriminatory which are the liberals key talking points along with racist if they don’t agree with what you say or what science proves just like science has proven global warming is not an issue The earth has been here for millions of years before us it will be here millions of years after us as for the I can identify with whatever I want and you have to agree with it no it is irreconcilable it is in mall and it hurts the real two genders but nobody cares about discrimination against those just a made up ones
    Like (26)
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    Since so many people hate these groups, I suppose the only way to achieve justice is to legislate.
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    In no way does this have ANY effect on other's rights. At all. It takes NOTHING away from anyone. At all.
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    I guess I do not understand because Title Vll of the civil Rights Code already protects gender and sexual orientation. I do not agree however. When a person is born they are either a boy or girl...biologically. A person might CHOOSE to identify differently,but they are still a boy or girl. Even if they go through a medical change they are still born as a boy or girl. Deciding to be something else is a choice and not a privilege...case in point...a boy participation in girl sports (i.e., track and field). The boy (girl by choice) will most always win because he will be stronger and faster and etc. This puts all other girls at a loosing disadvantage. This holds true to most individual sports. I understand the phycological issues and if someone wants to identify differently and and practice same sex relationships, have at it...I do not care...it is their choice. But to be a protected class...no. Protected classes like race, color, gender and ethnicity cannot be changed...a person is what they are and therefore should be protected. If we go down this path of acceptance by choice what stops a white person wanting to identify as black or Native American. We don’t hand out adjustments to civil rights in these instances...they are a choice and not how they were born. If they want to identify as black or Native American...I don’t care.
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    If “liberty and justice for all” is to mean anything, then it must begin with equality for everyone.
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    Fully support the legislation. Legislation only does so much. Minds and Hearts can be impervious to religion, reason, science, and laws. Look around. Some in the LBGTQ community will need to endure many hardships for years to come. Still, some localities are much better than others. But it is best to have the shields provided by local, state, and federal laws. “Be curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman “When you judge others, You do not define them, You define yourself.” - Earl Nightingale "Before you assume, learn the facts. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think." - Dale Carnegie Where has our homespun American wisdom gone? Has Christianity gone off the rails in some areas of the country and the planet? When did open hatred become politically correct? I missed both the meeting and the memo.
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    Unequivocally, yes. Prejudice against anyone for their identity should have no place in our country.
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    Shouldn’t we all have the same civil rights?
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    I am tiered of the religionists phobias, racist bigotry, hate, White nationalist and conspiracies. This is not the god I know!
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    TREAT AMERICANS LIKE AMERICANS ,,,,,,,,,, STOP PRETENDIBG BEING CHRISTIANS ,,,,,,, AND GOING AGAINST GODS LOVE AND THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST SON OF GOD
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    It's 2021... How are people still homophobic
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    To all those who maintain that ‘gender is based on science’ you certainly do not know your science! Superficial knowledge is dangerous. There is black, white and then a multitude of greys to put it in simple lay terms for the uninformed. Genetic expression can have a significant range as is evident from the brains & actions of gop and their ardent followers!
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    All Americans are promised equal protection under the law. No one's "religion" or belief puts them above someone else in order to restrict another person's freedom just because they don't agree with or approve of their gender or orientation. This is NOT about science (which is especially rich coming from those who don't like science when it's about climate or masks); it's about human dignity and personal freedom. If you don't want to honor the freedom of someone for their gender or orientation, don't open a business or own a housing property: your "religion" does not give you the right to discriminate against someone else. I believe that Jesus asked us all to "love one another", and whether you're Christian or not...I think that's a great baseline.
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    This legislation is huge, necessary and vitally important for the rights and protection of the LBGT community. Every person deserved the autonomy to express their true identity and values. It is sad we don’t live in a world where that respect is a given.
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    House Democrats passed a Equality Act bill to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to extend protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The tricky part is what happens next.
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