by WorldTribune Staff, September 17, 2019
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Sept. 13 passed the Equality Act which amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected characteristics under federal anti-discrimination law.
All Democrats and 8 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which passed 236-173.
Opponents say the legislation will destroy womens’ and girls’ sports as it would require schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he has no plans to bring the Equality Act up for a vote.
Even if the Senate did bring up, and pass, the legislation, it is unlikely to be signed by President Donald Trump.
“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” a senior administration official told The Blade.
Republican Florida Rep. Greg Steube introduced a last-minute amendment to the bill that would have preserved Title IX’s protections of female athletic teams, but Democrats rejected it, The Daily Caller reported.
“People need to wake up. This radical bill is going to totally eliminate womens’ and girls’ sports,” Republican Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko warned in an op-ed on Sept. 12.
In an April 29 Washington Post op-ed, former elite female athletes Doriane Coleman, Martina Navratilova and Sanya Richards-Ross warned that the Equality Act would wreak havoc on womens’ sports.
“The legislation would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose. For example, a sports team couldn’t treat a transgender woman differently from a woman who is not transgender on the grounds that the former is male-bodied,” the former athletes wrote.
“Yet the reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose,” the three women warned.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, insisted the bill wouldn’t put female athletes at a disadvantage.
“Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out,” Nadler said at a April 2 hearing on the bill.
The Daily Caller noted that, in Connecticut, one of the states to which Nadler was referring, two male runners have dominated girls’ high school track. A female competitor called the male runners’ advantage “demoralizing.”