By Heather Sells
This week Democrats are hashing out their party’s platform and that includes where it stands on LGBTQ issues. For many people of faith, there’s significant concern that the platform will crush religious freedom.
Although Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a deep Catholic faith and history that he regularly touts to potential voters, he has also pledged to make the Equality Act his top legislative priority.
He told the powerful LGBTQ lobbying organization, the Human Rights Campaign, last year “I promise you that’s the first thing I’ll ask that will be done.”
The bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws with no exceptions for people of faith.
Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says it fails to uphold human dignity.
Before the House passed the bill in 2019 Moore explained, “While the proposed intention of H.R. 5 is to protect individuals who identify as LGBT, the bill would instead steamroll the consciences of millions of people.”
Dr. Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, says the bill threatens social service and civic institutions including faith-based higher education.
“The Equality Act would in essence say that our beliefs are unacceptable and that we must change,” he said.
Some practical outcomes of the bill would include: forcing female athletes to compete with men that identify as women and requiring faith-based adoption agencies to choose between placing children with gay couples or closing down.
The bill also adds the words “perception” and “belief” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) says is especially alarming.
“If I go to interview in a job and I’m not hired I can sue that employer because I perceive they were thinking I was gay and so they didn’t hire me,” he said.
Analysts like the Family Research Council’s David Closson also note that Biden’s LGBTQ-friendly policies would affect school children.
“Biden has said that on his first day in office he would reinstate Obama-era guidance for schools that would allow those that identify as transgender to have access to the locker rooms, bathrooms and changing rooms of their choice,” he said.
Biden’s stance on transgender issues could also undermine parents.
He has called transgender equality the civil rights issue of our time. In 2018, the Biden Foundation launched a family acceptance campaign to ostensibly promote support for transgender children.
“We’ll use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection,” he said in a video clip.
Those kinds of efforts fall in line with the affirmative approach to the care of transgender-identifying children which forbids any questioning of a child who says they’re uncomfortable in their own body. But for parents, that means no ability to work through gender questions with their son or daughter if there’s any resistance from the child or a healthcare professional or educator.
New research shows that social contagion may lead to transgender identities for some kids. That possibility puts more responsibility on parents to not blindly accept a child’s emerging transgender identity but to help them think through it and not hastily move towards medical interventions.
The Human Rights Campaign calls this year’s Democratic LGBTQ platform “the most pro-equality platform in history” and is touting the first LGBTQ keynote speakers at the convention.