The bishops said the bill could pressure churches to “host functions that violate their beliefs.” They also said religious adoption agencies would have to match children with same-sex couples or possibly face closure.
The legislation also prevents religious freedom claims from being made by individuals and groups under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The landmark 1993 law has been invoked by many as a defense against various government mandates, but the Equality Act would override those religious freedom protections.
Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) said the bill would nullify conscience protections for health care workers. The act would “force both people and organizations in everyday life and work settings to speak and act in support of gender transitions, including health care workers and licensed counselors, even when it’s against their professional judgement,” she said.
Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, also warned the legislation could censor professors for teaching the Catholic position on marriage and sexuality.
“It doesn’t ensure equality for our faculty, who would not be allowed to proclaim the truth about human dignity and sexuality,” Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said of the act.