‘God’s will is no concern of this Congress’: House passes transgender Equality Act

“What any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (H.R.5) Thursday in a 224-206 vote. The controversial bill, which prohibits actions such as denying an individual access to a shared locker room based on their gender identity, now heads to the Senate.

“With Democrats in the majority, the Senate will have the opportunity to act on this critical civil rights legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said at a press conference Thursday.

“I’m hopeful that just like in the House, the Equality Act will get Republican votes and pass the Senate with bipartisan support. And of course, we now have an ally in the White House with President Biden, who’s promised to make the Equality Act a priority,” Schumer said.

Thursday’s vote fell largely along party lines with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), John Katko (R-NY), and Tom Reed (R-NY) joining House Democrats in support of the bill.

Some opponents to the bill argued that it violates religious freedom. The Equality Act explicitly states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 shall not provide a basis for challenging its application.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) quoted the biblical book of Deuteronomy during his speech against the bill on the House floor.

“Whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against him and will inevitably bear the consequences. And I think we are seeing the consequences of rejecting God here in our country today,” Steube said.

“Our government, through this bill, is going to redefine what a woman is and what a man is,” he said.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) responded, “Mr. Steube, what any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said, “The Equality Act is not about stopping discrimination. It’s about causing discrimination against women and religious freedoms.”

In protest to Greene’s opposition of the bill, Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) on Wednesday placed a blue, pink, and white transgender flag outside her office, which lies directly across the hall from Greene’s office, “so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”

In response, Greene placed a sign outside her office which read, “There are two genders: male and female. Trust the science!”

Last week, the Coalition for Jewish Values called for the rejection of the Equality Act, saying it was “a direct attack on Jewish religious values and practices.”