Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) vowed on Thursday to challenge the Equality Act in the courts if the controversial bill passes Congress.
Standing with members of the House Freedom Caucus in front of the U.S. Capitol, Roy spoke about what he believes are the dangers of the Equality Act, just hours prior to its passage in the House.
He argued that the bill, which was reintroduced into Congress on Feb. 18, would trample “on the rights of the American people in the name of equality, in the false name of equality.”
The bill seeks to address discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. But critics and advocates argue that its application could instead result in discrimination against religious institutions, people of faith, women, and individuals who wish to subscribe to traditional views of gender and sexuality, and shut out dissenters from the public square.
Roy warned about the growing encroachment on individual liberties and accused the Democrats of forcing its ideology and politics on Americans.
“This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe. We’re not going to do that,” he said.
He vowed to stand up against the encroachment, pledging to fight the bill in the Senate and beyond.
“We’re not going to be painted in the corner. Because this is about ‘tyranny of the minds of men,'” he said, referring to a quote from former President Thomas Jefferson.
Roy added, “We are going to keep fighting it in the courts and beyond. But most importantly, for free will as American citizens and our right to live free and to alter this government as necessary if they continue to trample our rights.”
The Equality Act seeks to prohibit “discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” The bill was again introduced in Congress on Feb. 18 after failing to pass in 2019 when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to consider the law. It passed the House on Feb. 25 with a 224-206 vote, largely on party lines. The bill will now be considered in the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.
President Joe Biden has vowed to enact the Equality Act during his first 100 days as president. He argues that the bill “represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.”
Following the bill’s passage in the House, Biden urged the Senate to do the same in a Twitter statement.
Meanwhile, conservatives and religious groups say the bill could “create a cause of action” against any groups or institution that reject the government-prescribed “moral orthodoxy.”
Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, previously told The Epoch Times that he believes if the law passes, it would “create a cause of action against any institution that rejects the government-imposed moral orthodoxy, including churches, hospitals, adoption agencies, religious orders, schools, and other nonprofits.”
“Dissenters will be driven from public life with ruinous fines and social opprobrium. Free exercise equality will not be allowed to guard against the harms of the Equality Act because it precludes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense against adverse action based on one of its provisions,” he added.
A coalition of conservative groups has launched a movement called “Promise to America’s Children” that seeks to take gender identity and sexual orientation politics out of a child’s upbringing. The groups have raised concerns about the Equality Act and its impact on children and families.
The groups are asking parents and policymakers to sign a 10-point pledge to oppose legislation that forces children to adopt sexual norms prescribed by the government and to help develop laws that would “protect children’s health, safety, and families.”
“Our world is perilous for children,” Autumn Leva, vice president for strategy at the Family Policy Alliance, said in a statement.
“In media and at school, children are routinely exposed to explicit messages and images. Boys are allowed to play in girls’ sports, shattering girls’ opportunities and dreams. When children are struggling to embrace their biological sex, they are pushed to pursue dangerous cross-sex hormones and sterilizing surgery. And the Equality Act—which the U.S. House is poised to vote on this week—would use the full power of federal government to enshrine these practices nationwide.”
Religion and faith have traditionally been viewed as the foundational building block of American society. Data from a Pew Survey conducted between 2019 and 2020 show that 70 percent of Americans say they are affiliated with a religion, while 28 percent say they are atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” The right to freely exercise one’s religion is also enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.