House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a news conference Jan. 17, 2019 (video screenshot)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a news conference Jan. 17, 2019 (video screenshot)

Congress is considering a bill critics describe as a “setback” to women.

The Washington Watchdog Judicial Watch said it would take away any right to single-sex accommodations.

That would include “public multi-stall bathrooms, domestic violence or rape crisis shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, jails, juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, locker rooms or group showers.”

The bill, the Equality Act, already has been criticized by leaders such as James Dobson of the James Dobson Family Institute.

He warned, “Make no mistake – the so-called Equality Act is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to finish off religious liberty in America once and for all, which ought to be plainly obvious based upon a cursory reading of the First Amendment.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said, during congressional discussion, that religious rights protected by the First Amendment never should be used as a defense in a conflict with LGBT rights.

The Equality Act, Judicial Watch warns, provides no exemption for churches or religious groups.

“Religion is no excuse for discrimination when it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity,” Nadler declared.

Judicial Watch said the bill would protect “gender identity” under federal civil rights law and “force men who identify as women to be treated and accepted as female.”

If it becomes law, Judicial Watch said, “it would drastically impact numerous sectors. Hospitals and insurance companies will have to provide costly sex-reassignment therapies, employers and workers who don’t conform to new sexual norms will lose their businesses and jobs and women would lose female-only facilities and sports. The only requirement for protection under the bill is a self-declared ‘gender identity.'”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has promoted the bill

“To dismantle the discrimination undermining our democracy, we must ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated equally under the law – not just in the workplace, but in education, housing, credit, jury service and public accommodations as well,” she has claimed.

Judicial Watch said it recently wrote about a separate law that aims to defund women’s shelters that don’t allow transgender men who self-identify as women.

“The Equality Act goes further by also stripping a woman’s right to have a person of the same sex conduct security searches on their body, supervise drug tests, handle intimate medical care and supervise children on overnight trips. This is because the language in the proposed law replaces sex with gender identity, open to the claimant’s interpretation, as a protected category.”

The bill also would threaten women’s sports.

“If the Equality Act passes males will have the right to compete against females, an atrocity that even the most liberal women and feminists reject. Among them is tennis legend Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam champion who encountered lots of discrimination for coming out as gay during the peak of her professional tennis career in the 1980s. ‘You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,’ Navratilova said. ‘It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair,'” Judicial Watch said.

Dobson said: “I wish I could say I was shocked to see the speed with which Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have brought to committee the sweet sounding but entirely treacherous Equality Act. This decision demonstrates a frightening willingness by those on the left to advance a radical social agenda at a time when our nation already faces so many other divisive challenges,” he said.

“Simply put, by creating a protected class of citizens out of the LGBT community, this bill places Christians who believe in traditional marriage at grave legal and civil jeopardy,” said Dobson.

“While no evangelical Christian would ever support hate or violence of any kind against an LGBT individual – or any other person for that matter – to modify the 1964 Civil Rights Act with this wrong-headed bill would not only be legally fraught, it would also put moral equivalence to the unprecedented, centuries-long struggle of countless millions of African Americans to gain freedom from slavery and the persistent, systematic oppression that followed.”

The Equality Act would apply to all churches, religious institutions, clubs and companies. It also would affect adoption agencies, foster parents and the religious rights of photographers, artists, bakers, wedding planners and printers.

“This bill literally sets the stage for setting up the Bible as prohibited material where it addresses homosexuality,” Liberty Counsel said.

The Heritage Foundation said employers, workers, medical professionals, parents, children, women and nonprofit organizations all would be harmed by the plan.

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