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Conscience Magazine

US Bishops Oppose Congressional Equality Act

May 6, 2021

THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE of Catholic Bishops has come out in opposition to the reintroduction of the Equality Act in the 2021 session of the U.S. Congress. Created with the intent of extending protections for the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity,” it amounts to a codifying into law by Congress “of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations.”

In a statement signed by the heads of the USCCB councils on Religious Liberty, Pro-Life, Marriage, Catholic Education and Domestic Justice, the bishops cite supposed consequences of the legislation, which they claim will negatively impact “the right of freedom of speech, as well as to faithbased charities and healthcare workers with conscience objections.” All five bishops emphasized that the act could be construed to legally enshrine an abortion mandate that would represent “a violation of precious rights to life and conscience,” as well as a threat to faith-based charities and their beneficiaries.

Ignoring a groundswell of support on the part of U.S. Catholic laity, the bishops’ vocal opposition to the bill is stated in no uncertain terms. Insisting that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated,” the statement by the bishops’ conference asserts that “it is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.”