May 21, 2019 - Tuesday
Republican Defects, then Deflects, on Equality Act
The outcome of the Equality Act may not have been a surprise, but some of the people who voted for it sure were. In the House, where Democrats were confident they could peel off Republicans in the double digits, only eight crossed over to support a bill that would be the end of freedom as we know of it. Over the weekend, at least one of them -- Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) -- is having second thoughts. But for voters who stand to lose privacy, conscience rights, parental rights, and women's rights, it's too little too late.
He called it "Democratic posturing," so no one is quite sure why he went along. It's a flawed bill, he implied to the Naples Daily News, that has no chance of passing the Senate. But if that was supposed to make constituents feel better, it didn't. "This piece of legislation is flawed and amounts to just another messaging bill pushed by Democratic leadership that has no chance of... becoming law in its current form," Diaz-Balart tried to explain in a statement.
In a desperate attempt to straddle the fence on a bill that's an insult to the First Amendment, Diaz-Balart went on to say, "If House Democrats wanted to pass real legislation, they would have included bipartisan language providing legitimate protection for families, individuals, medical professionals, and religious organizations who object based on their deeply held religious beliefs." Then, in a classic example of words-not-deeds, he tries to persuade people that "Protecting religious freedom has always been a priority" -- which is hard to believe, considering this is the most profoundly hostile bill to faith in the last 200 years.
"I have voted for and cosponsored numerous bills that protect and promote religious freedom. I have also dedicated my career to fighting against discrimination in all its forms. However, I cannot oppose a bill that seeks to prevent discrimination."
And that's where he and Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), and Greg Walden (Ore.) fundamentally misunderstand the bill. It was never about preventing discrimination. If it were, parents, Christians, businesses, doctors, pro-lifers, counselors, and women wouldn't become targets of it.
Going to confession after voting for a bill that directly attacks religious freedom is a good start, but it's going to take a lot more for lawmakers to convince their constituents that they're not hostile to people of faith when they've signed on to a Left's anti-faith agenda.
For more on the Equality Act and its potential to destroy America as we know it, check out this new publication by FRC's Mary Beth Waddell.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.