When will Doug Lamborn have his come to Jesus moment? When will Focus on the Family focus on the family, instead of angrily fixating on who people love and what gender was printed on their birth certificates?
H.R.5, the Equality Act, has brought a flurry of panicked messages from right-wing politicians and commentators, aghast at the idea they won’t be able to deny people health care, housing, credit, employment and education on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Here’s what H.R.5 says, in part: “this bill prohibits 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. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.”
The promise to add and expand protections for LGBTQ people has Doug in a tizzy. He’s telling followers “these new definitions raise concerns over the effect that they would have on parental rights, conscience protections, equality for women, and the ability for doctors to serve patients using their best medical judgment.”
Here’s a hint: A doctor’s “best medical judgment” is inherently tied to treating the patient, not denying care because the patient doesn’t suit their preferences. Any physician who takes their oath and their medical license seriously will tell you this — usually vehemently.
Next, Doug says, the bill “explicitly prohibits the protections provided by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
Here’s another hint: When your “religious freedom” rests on denying other people their basic human rights, it’s not religious freedom. It’s oppression based on a warped, self-serving version of faith. This isn’t about Jesus (“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” — remember him?); it’s about Doug scrambling to preserve privileges only for those who look and think like Doug.
And spare us the drivel about “conscience protections.” Putting a fancy name on it doesn’t disguise the real thrust: I want to control your life, health and freedom because I think I should be able to tell you how to live. In fact, I think how you live and who you are should conform with my god-fearin’ cisgendered comfort — not with basic humanity.
Focus on the Family is taking this message to the mat too. Via a post in The Daily Citizen, the Christian fundamentalist organization published an opinion light on facts and heavy on hysteria. Calling H.R.5 “A Threat To Life and Freedom,” Focus on the Family frets about restrooms, lists “school children would be introduced to transgender ideology” among “damaging effects of this legislation” and claims “‘sexual identity’ is very subjective.”
President Joe Biden supports H.R.5. All four Colorado Democratic representatives voted for it. Lamborn and fellow Republican Ken Buck voted against it. Lauren Boebert didn’t show up for the vote but — predictably and unimaginatively — made time for her own anti-LGBTQ rant.
“Where is the equity in this legislation for the young girls across America who will have to look behind their backs as they change in school locker rooms, just to make sure there isn’t a confused man trying to catch a peek?” she said two days before the final vote.
Lamborn, Buck, Boebert and the Focus on the Family crew are exactly why we need H.R.5 to pass: They want to shape the community in their image, and protect an imagined “right” to discriminate against those they disapprove of. Across the nation, we currently have a patchwork of state laws that vary significantly in the levels of protection they offer. In fact, “50 percent of the national LGBTQ community still live in states that fail to provide clear legal protections to their LGBTQ citizens,” H.R.5 sponsor Rep. David Cicilline and Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in an op-ed for The Advocate.
By clarifying and expanding rights, H.R.5 would fill those gaps in protection and ensure LGBTQ people are properly protected nationwide. Nobody’s civil rights should depend on their suburb.