Sending Office: Honorable Chris Pappas
I am excited to have the historic opportunity to vote on H.R. 5, the Equality Act, today on the House floor. This sweeping civil rights bill will ensure that members of the LGBTQ community have the same protections under the law as every other American.
This bipartisan bill has the support of more than 200 businesses, dozens of associations, civil rights and advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In recent days I have been made aware that there has been a great deal of misinformation being circulated about H.R. 5, and wanted to take an opportunity to address some of those concerns with the Myths and Facts sheet below. Please do not hesitate to reach
out to me directly if you would like more information, or have your staff reach out to Sarah Trister in Mr. Cicilline’s office at
Sarah.Trister@mail.house.gov or 54911.
I hope you will join us in supporting this historic bill when we vote on the House floor in just a few hours.
Member of Congress
H.R. 5 The Equality Act
Myths and Facts
Myth: Churches will be forced to act as places of public accommodation and will be forced to pastor to everyone.
Fact: Houses of worship are not places of public accommodation when they are serving members of the faith, and the clergy determine who is and who is not a member of the faith. If a place of worship provides spaces exclusively to their members – like meeting
spaces or spaghetti dinners – they aren’t considered to be public accommodations. That’s the existing law and that would be the law under the Equality Act.
No member of the clergy will ever be compelled to perform a religious ceremony that conflicts with their beliefs, including marrying same-sex couples.
Myth: Parents will no longer be able to make medical decisions for their minor children.
Fact: Nothing in the Equality Act interferes with parental rights. Parents will retain the ability to make medical decision for their minor children consistent with state law, just as they can now.
Similarly, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability for both adults and children. The ADA has not been interpreted to prohibit parents from making medical decision for their minor children with disabilities.
In addition, the Supreme Court has held numerous times that fit parents have a right to raise their children consistent with their views of what is right for the child, and the Equality Act will not – and cannot -change that.
Myth: Parochial schools will no longer be able to accept federal funds and retain their religious character.
Fact: The Equality Act does not add religion to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination by recipients of federal funds. A religious school that limits enrollment to members of the faith may continue to receive federal funds
such as school lunch subsidies. Religious schools may determine the tenets of their faith and decline to enroll or hire individuals who are not of the faith in good standing. If a school opens its doors to the general public instead of limiting enrollment
to members of the faith, it can continue to accept federal funds while offering religious curriculum and retaining a religious character provided that the school is not harassing LGBTQ students.
Myth: Single-sex spaces and activities will be eliminated.
Fact: Gender specific programs to overcome the effects of past discrimination have generally not been considered to constitute sex discrimination either in federal laws that have nondiscrimination protections for sex or in corollary state laws. The Equality
Act would not prohibit single-sex activities or spaces, rather it would advance equal treatment of women in gender integrated spaces.
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