The Equality Act was blocked from coming up for a vote in the U.S. Senate by Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) on June 19. The bill passed in the House last year by a vote of 236-173, with a party line vote by Democrats joined by eight Republicans.
The bill would add protections for gender identity and sexual orientation across the entire scope of federal anti-discrimination laws. Those include public accommodations and non-profits, housing, higher education, and government grants and contracts. What’s not included is any type of religious exemption. Religious institutions that disagree would face federal penalties and lawsuits.
Gregory Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, called the Equality Act “legal Armageddon for religious organizations in our country that must be opposed at all costs.”
The bill could be brought up again in Senate at a later time. “This thing cannot become law,” warned Baylor. “It reaches places of public accommodation; it makes you places of public accommodation. It will cover housing. It reaches into every place under the sun. It will essentially repeal the Religious Restoration Act.”