Earlier this week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, delegates approved one of the most radical social agendas ever embraced by an American political party.
Though many media outlets have been focusing on the DNC’s open-doors bathroom policy or the record number of LGBT delegates on the convention floor, the real radicalism on LGBT issues can be found in that platform’s ardent support for the Equality Act.
Introduced in 2015, and co-sponsored by presumptive Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine, the Equality Act would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to enact a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We will also fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans,” the DNC’s platform outlines. “We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”
Claiming that adherence to traditional sexual morality is a “misuse” of religion reveals the deeper issues with the Equality Act and the Democrats’ LGBT agenda more broadly. For the left, religious liberty is only tolerable when it provides absolutely no impediments to the pursuit of a radical agenda.
Ryan Anderson, an expert on issues of marriage and religious liberty, argued that, despite the nice-sounding name and rhetorical defenses of the bill, the Equality Act would be terrible public policy for just that reason.
“They threaten small-business owners with liability for alleged ‘discrimination’ based not on objective traits, but on subjective and unverifiable identities,” Anderson wrote for The Daily Signal. “They expand state interference in labor markets, potentially discouraging job creation. They endanger religious liberty and freedom of speech. And they mandate employment policies that, with regard to many workplace conditions, violate common sense.”
Legal experts, such as Andrew T. Walker, fear that the law could quash dissent and force groups that adhere to traditional sexual mores to violate their consciences.
“Aside from the enumerated protections that give rise to conflict between sexual identity and religious liberty, by elevating sexual orientation and gender identity to the level of race, the law’s effect would functionally equate those who don’t agree with it with racists and label them perpetrators of irrational bigotry,” Walker wrote for Public Discourse.
The preamble to the Democrats’ 2016 platform states: “As Democrats, we respect differences of perspective and belief, and pledge to work together to move this country forward, even when we disagree. With this platform, we do not merely seek common ground—we strive to reach higher ground.”
This statement of principle simply cannot be squared with the platform’s support of the Equality Act. The expansion of federal power the bill ushers in would create a crisis for religious liberty in this country, imperiling already-embattled religious groups.
Colleges and universities with Christian convictions would be forced to acquiesce to the cutting-edge of the sexual liberation movement. Business owners with closely-held religious beliefs would be forced to act out of accord with their consciences. Those who have principles opposed to the LGBT agenda will be made to suffer.
The Equality Act is nothing less than a new kind of totalitarianism. By supporting it, Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, and the Democratic Party march lockstep away from the most fundamental of American rights — freedom of conscience.
Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.