WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have written in public opposition to the Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788), which was introduced in Congress on March 13, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws, which has wide-reaching impacts on health care, women and girls’ legal protections, charitable services to needful populations, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and potentially parental rights.
With respect to those who identify as “LGBT,” “each and every person should be treated with dignity and respect. Part of that dignity, as Pope Benedict stated, is every person’s right to gainful and decent employment free of unjust discrimination. Also included is each person’s right to services that address their needs for health and safety,” affirmed Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in their letter to members of Congress.
“Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, however, the Equality Act would impose sweeping regulations to the detriment of society as a whole,” they explained. The chairmen proceeded to elaborate on some of their several concerns with the Act’s consequences. In state and local jurisdictions with similar laws, many of these have already been coming to fruition – with students, charities, and businesses owners facing privacy violations, penalties, or litigation.
Stressing their desire to work toward social inclusion without divisiveness or harm to the common good, the bishops emphasized to members of Congress that “we readily stand with you, and are willing to assist you, in developing compassionate and just means to eradicate unjust discrimination and harassment from our country.”
The letter to the House and Senate is available online at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Equality-Act-Letter-to-Congress-House-1.pdf, and www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Equality-Act-Letter-to-Congress-Senate-1.pdf.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; U.S. Congress, Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788), LGBT, civil rights laws
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