WASHINGTON (WJHL) — Rep. Diana Harshbarger spoke against the Equality Act from the House floor before the chamber ultimately voted to pass the measure on Thursday.
In a 224–206 vote, the House approved the bill which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit “discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.”
It also expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments “that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.”
The bill prohibits denying an individual access to restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.
Harshbarger said the Equality Act undermines protections for women and girls.
“Simply put, women’s shelters should remain women’s shelters, and not allow biological men to intrude, and girls’ sports should remain sports for girls. This is not equal opportunity, this is catastrophic for girls’ sports.”
The congresswoman said the bill seeks to overturn fairness in girls’ sports.
“All of this is even before mentioning the provisions that would undermine religious freedom. Religious organizations shouldn’t be forced to act contrary to their beliefs. This is why they call it religious freedom after all.”
Harshbarger said the bill threatens free speech and the sanctity of life.
“This, honestly, goes against everything that I believe as a Christian, and I will be opposing this bill,” Harshbarger said.
Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the act.
The Equality Act is expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate.