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tv   Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on LGBTQ Rights Legislation  CSPAN  April 11, 2021 3:28am-6:52am EDT

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at least 60 senators on the president's signature to become law. -- and the president's signature to become law.
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>> holding the first sent hearing on the equality act. the first hearing of civil rights on lgbtq americans in a decade. this will codify protections for lgbtq americans. i would like to turn to a video that recognizes how far we have come and how far we still have to go. [video clip] >> somewhere in san antonio, there is a young gate person. if the parents find out, they will be tossed out of the house. then someone will open the paper and that says, "the lgbtq community is closer to being protected by the bill of civil rights." that young child and the thousands and thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow. i know you cannot live on hope alone but without it, life is not worth living. you have to give it hope. ♪
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>> every american deserves respect and dignity. the equality act will come law because it will ensure that americans can live lives free of discrimination. >> the act was made to protect me and other lgbtq americans who -- from people who are people who were trying to reduce our lives to bedrooms, bathrooms, are locker rooms, rather than deal with the complex lives of real people who must endure their hatred. >> it's legal for same-sex couples and all 50 states, but they could lose their respective jobs in 21 states. be denied housing in 27 states. be denied jobs, public accommodations. if they or their children are in school or college, their sexual orientation or gender identity could open them up to discrimination in educational pursuits and 31 states. many use the act as a mockery.
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many of whom live without basic human rights watch and even in 2021. bigotry and dangerous lives of many people whose life expectancy hovers around 35 years of age. >> we have a society in which we have people who are excluded from protections. protection underscores that the work at the country remains fundamentally undone. >> if you can protect them, you can protect everyone. if you cannot protect them, we don't have equality. ♪
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>> we have all seen pictures and photos, heard stories of things that have happened in the past in america. i'm sure many members of the committee have the same reaction i did when you look at a sign that said "whites only." when you heard stories of lynchings that took place not only in the south, but across the united states. when you hear of the discrimination in the history of this country, first, you are incredulous. then, angry that this could have happened in america. it has happened. discrimination against groups throughout our history. as wise and thoughtful as our founding fathers might have been in writing the constitution, they counted african-americans as 3/5 of a human being. women were not given the right to vote. the disabled were not even recognized. sexual orientation was way beyond the reach of our founding fathers' consideration. since the dawn of the republic, lgbtq americans have made important contributions to
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america even while they have been subjected to bigotry, violence, and the threat of imprisonment simply for being who they are. consider some of these moments in american history. sodomy was a felony in every colony then every state in the nation. in 1862, albert cashier born as jenny hodges enlisted in the army as a man and fought for three years until the end of the civil war. he continued living as a man after the war. in 1924, the german immigrant named henry gerber founded the society for human rights in chicago. the first gay rights organization in the united states. in 1953, president dwight eisenhower issued executive order 10450 which banned gay and lesbian americans from working for the federal government. in 1961, my home state of illinois became the first to
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decriminalize same-sex relations between two consenting adults in private. in 1970, the first gay pride parade was held in chicago to commemorate the stonewall riots. in 1996, congress passed the defense of marriage act, defining marriage for federal purposes as between a man and a woman by an overwhelming bipartisan vote. only 14 senators voted against the bill, including my mentor, senator simon and our colleague, senator dianne feinstein. senator feinstein, you were a leader, you still are a leader in the subject. just 18 years ago, the supreme court ended sodomy laws in the united states. in 2009, president obama signed into law the matthew shepard's hate crime prevention act, which
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expanded the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity and sexual orientation. in 2010, congress overturned the discriminatory don't ask, don't tell policy that prevented gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers from serving openly. the supreme court struck down doma. we remember only six years ago when the supreme court finally held that marriage equality was the law of the land in america. the obama administration allowed transgender servicemembers to serve openly, but in 2017, president trump abruptly announced a ban on military service. president biden has repealed the ban. last year the supreme court held that the prohibition on sex discrimination title vii of the civil rights act bars firing an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. despite the setbacks along the
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way, we have made great strides in the fight for equality for lgbtq americans. they still face a patchwork of legal protection across america. some states like illinois comprehensively protect individuals from discrimination. others lag far behind. a 2020 study found one of three lgbtq americans, including three out of five transgender americans, experienced discrimination over the past year. that's why it is critical to fill the gaps in federal civil rights law and strengthen protections for this class of american citizens. the equality act would ensure that lgbtq americans are protected from discrimination in public accommodations, education, federally funded program, employment, housing, credit, and jury service. this legislation has been endorsed by 600 civil rights, health care, and faith-based
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organizations. nearly 400 major corporations support the bill, along with 60 business associations, including the national association of manufacturers and the u.s. chamber of commerce. a nonpartisan poll found that 70% of americans, including a majority of democrats, republicans, and independents, support nondiscrimination protection for lgbtq americans. unfortunately, some opponents have chosen to make exaggerated claims about what the equality act would do. let me be clear. those of us working to pass this legislation are open to good faith, constructive suggestions on further improvement and strengthening the bill. that's why we are having this hearing. many of the attacks on this bill are nothing more than the latest
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in a long line of fearmongering targeting the lgbtq community. for years, opponents of marriage equality introduced both state and federal constitutional amendments to ban it. two literally expand discrimination. they claimed such bans were necessary to protect the institution of marriage. when their attacks on marriage equality failed, opponents turned to attacking equality for the transgender community, claiming that equality for trans americans place girls and women at risk. we have so far seen more than 80 bills introduced during 2021 states legislative sessions attacking the trans community. these bills are addressing problems that simply do not exist, yet these bills have real consequences. they marginalize and harm trans youth kids who are trying to live their lives authentically. that's why these measures are opposed by the 50 major
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corporations in the nation's leading child health organizations. instead of discriminating against and marginalizing lgbtq americans and kids, we should be working toward a more inclusive america. that's exactly what the equality act would help accomplish. last month, the u.s. house of representatives passed the equality act on a strong bipartisan vote. president biden called it a "critical step toward ensuring that american lives lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all." now, it is in our hands. to paraphrase harvey milk's call for our nation to give lgbtq people hope, we need to keep fighting for a better tomorrow. we need to keep hoping for a better place to come, and we need to pass the equality act to ensure that all will be right. i now turn to the ranking member chuck grassley.
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sen. grassley: the act is meant to stop discrimination against lgbtq individuals. laws to end hateful discrimination can be tailored to prevent injustices in various contexts like banking and housing and thereby end those injustices. this bill is drafted in an entirely different way. it would fundamentally manipulate how our society deals with subjects of sex, gender, and faith. we all agree that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, sex, gender identity, religion, politics, and probably a lot of other categories you could name.
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we are all human beings and need to treat each other with kindness and compassion. for some of you, it may be sentimental for me to say that my guide is from the bible, love god, the first law. the second law, love your neighbor as yourself. i question whether that is what this bill truly does. i strongly suspect that it actually would dictate what women, girls, schools, churches, doctors, and others must believe. i want to hear from experts and ordinary americans with life experiences. we need to consider the perspective of everyone who will be affected by this bill's sweeping language. we need to hear from physicians whose professional judgment may be overridden by the federal government, if this bill is adopted.
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we need to hear from the occupants of homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities with jurisdictions where anyone currently can request a transfer based upon gender identity. how would the equality act deal with these sex-specific facilities that involve no hateful discrimination? still, other perspectives will help the senate that are understand what would happen if certain basic services on which many americans rely if this act is adopted. example, what will happen to catholic or methodist affiliated hospitals which provide excellent service to the public if this bill is enacted? in some areas, these facilities may be the only hospitals for
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miles around. if a faith-based organization is partnered with a community to provide needed social services that would otherwise not exist like a soup kitchen or an adoption agency for the hard to adopt special need kids, what happens to the people who relied most heavily on the services? to whom do they turn? we need to have a genuine, bipartisan discussion about all of these issues at today's hearing, and i just heard the chairman say he is open to those discussions. dismissing the challenges for women and girls and the need to protect religious freedom of conscience is no way to conduct a legislative hearing.
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i want to share the story of one of the many people that we should be keeping in mind as we consider this legislation. the mother of a young student athlete, chelsea mitchell. chelsea is a star high school athlete in connecticut. she told us she would like to retain the right to compete on equal footing with other biological girls. instead, this accomplished athlete has forced to compete against biological men. many women and girls before her fought for legal protections under title ix, which recognized that sex-specific distinctions are appropriate in some instances. as a father, grandfather, and husband, i celebrated the athletic successes of talented young women in my own family.
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i am deeply concerned about this act potential negative implications for all girls and women in sports. i have a letter from chelsea's mom and i would request its inclusion in the record along with a number of other personal accounts. i hope that at today's hearing, voices like chelsea's will not be drowned out. we hear from two witnesses today for the minority. ms. schreiber is a yale educated attorney and an independent journalist who is here to tell us all the ways that the equality act far from treating americans equally would treat women and girls unequally. of course, the title ix for sports issue speaks to just one problem that this bill
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potentially prevents for women and girls. this is an important issue, but it is not the only issue. ms. schreier will explain the far-reaching implications of the bill that extend beyond what this hearing's title suggests. i also look forward to hearing from ms. hansen, an attorney as well about the bill's unprecedented impact on religious freedom protections. i hope that she can help us understand how the equality act would override protections that we enacted under the landmark religious freedom restoration act. it was championed in the other chamber by then congressman schumer adopted by overwhelming bipartisan support and signed by president clinton. all of these issues merit careful analysis and extensive deliberation by our chamber. i hope the concerns of women and
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girls and of americans of faith will be treated with inclusion and respect. i yield. >> thank you, senator grassley. i can't believe that i started this hearing without wishing everyone a happy st. patrick's day. senator kennedy looks good. all of you, thank you for being here today. secondly, my apologies for the hearing in this room. we do not get a bid in in time for the larger room, so it really is awkward and uncomfortable. we are counting on the rules committee to protect us all the way. i hope that happens. the third thing i want to say is this. i always felt that senator grassley as chair and senator graham as chair did everything they could to keep these hearings at a very high level and respectful of everyone, witnesses and members alike. i want to strive to reach the
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same goal, and i am sure our colleagues will join us in that effort. today, we welcome members of congress to testify on the equality act. we have an extraordinarily large number who want to testify. i will briefly introduce the majority witnesses then senator grassley will introduce the minority witnesses as they follow the witnesses panels. each member will have a maximum of three minutes to deliver the remarks. because there are so many who wish to testify, i decided to go in order of seniority. the first person i would like to introduce for a three-minute statement is the author or the primary sponsor of the senate version of the equality act, senator merkley of oregon. sen. murphy: thank you for convening this historic hearing. i am honored to be here with you today.
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i am proud to sponsor this historic piece of legislation, and to have worked in partnership with colleagues on the house side and so many leaders and civil rights communities to draft this legislation back in 2015. now, here we are six years later, having this moment to finally start the important discussion in the committee to determine the path forward to end this historic discrimination against lgbtq members of the united states of america. i am determined that we go forward to outlaw discrimination against lgbtq americans as we have outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and religion. when our founders met in philadelphia to break away to create a new nation, they had powerful revolutionary ideals and perhaps the most
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revolutionary ideal of all, as thomas jefferson wrote in the declaration of independence, was that all of us are created equal and deserving of the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. america from an imperfect beginning has thrived toward that vision generation after generation. to reach toward those goals of freedom, equality, opportunity for all. when you look at where we started from and where we are now, it is clear we have made significant progress toward achieving that vision. we are not there yet. president lyndon johnson once said that freedom is the right to share fully and equally in american society. it is the right to be treated in every part of our national life as a person equal of dignity and promise to all others. too many of our fellow americans are not treated as people equal in dignity and promise.
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too many cannot share fully and equally in society because each and every day, they are submitted to discrimination, doors slammed in their faces, and aspect after aspect of our national life, all because of who they are or whom they love. in 29 states today, lgbtq americans can be married in the morning, ejected from a restaurant at lunch, denied a mortgage, dismissed from jury duty, and evicted from their home the same night. how can we say that any of these americans are treated equal in dignity and promise to all others? how can we say that lgbtq americans are free when one and -- free, when one in three report having faced some sort of discrimination in just the last year? how can we say that all of us are created equal and deserving
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of the same rights when the law does not give the same rights and opportunities to lgbtq americans? no one should have to live like that. no one should have to live their life with discrimination slamming shut the doors of opportunity, preventing so many aspects of our national life. that discrimination is the opposite of freedom. it is the opposite of dignity. it is the very opposite of equality. it is way past time for members of this body to step up and fulfill the vision of our declaration of independence. the vision in our constitution, the vision of justice under law carved under the doors of the supreme court and end the dark history of discrimination and test discrimination against our
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fellow lgbtq americans. thank you again. thank you for this long overdue hearing. >> senator tammy baldwin of wisconsin is the co-lead of the equality act and is the first openly lgbtq senator. sen. baldwin: thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member, and members of the committee. thank you for holding this historic hearing and allowing me to be part of it. the people sent me first to the house of representatives in 1999, we have seen enormous advances for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. on a bipartisan basis, we have expanded our nation's hate crimes law to violence against this community. repealed the don't ask, don't tell law that barred open
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service by gay and lesbian service members. through the actions of state legislatures and state and federal courts, marriage equality has become a reality in every corner of this country. our work is not yet done. because of that, the house has twice passed on a bipartisan basis the equality act. discrimination remains a daily reality for members of the lgbtq community. discrimination is a painful reality. a majority of states still lack comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. education, and elsewhere. when our community fought for hate crimes and open service and
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marriage, sought to be included, to be afforded the same opportunities as every other american. these efforts were not about taking something away from others. but rather, ensuring lgbtq people could fully participate in the life of our nation. that is what the equality act is about. making our nation's decades-old federal civil rights framework inclusive of lgbtq people and expanding the opportunities they afford to more people. not diminishing them for others. just as enacting its historic laws made us a better nation, closer to the promise of equality for which so many have struggled, so too will extending them. doing so will allow lgbtq people who are your family members, friends, neighbors, staff, and colleagues the chance to
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contribute to their workplaces, schools, communities as their full selves without fear of discrimination. our nation is at its best when it seeks to expand opportunities and embrace the beautiful diversity of the american people. each time we have done so, there have been those who insist that it will result in calamity. that has never come to pass. we are a better, stronger nation for having advanced the cause of equality. let us work together to continue moving our country forward in that noble pursuit. thank you. >> thank you, senator baldwin. on the basis of seniority, i am calling the roll, i love you all. i had to figure some reasonable objective standard. senator lankford is recognized next.
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sen. lankford: thank you. let me be clear, no person should be discriminated against in america. no one. that's who we are, it's a basic constitutional principle. we are all equal under the law. all of us. we don't oppose equality, we do oppose legislation when you take the rights of one and dismiss the rights of others. we should all be able to respect each other, to disagree, and still honor each other and our disagreements, that's who we are as americans. mr. chairman, i really do thank you for holding this hearing and taking a serious look at the text because there are some serious issues with the text that we believe should be addressed as you go through the markup process. in 1993, congress took action to respond to the supreme court's decision in employment division versus smith. house judiciary committee report stated that the smith decision had created a climate in which the free exercise of religion is continuously in jeopardy. after smith, claimants will be forced to convince courts that an inappropriate legislative motive created statutes and regulations. the committee believes the compelling governmental interest
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must be restored. the legislative response to that smith decision was the religious freedom restoration act of 1993, which many members of this committee voted for. the bill restored the compelling governmental interest test applicable to the first amendment free exercise cases by providing a compelling justification in order to burden religious exercise. the bill ultimately passed the house by voice vote and pals -- passed the house 97-3. -- house by voice vote and passed the senate 97-3. this bill, the equality act for the first time since 1993 would exclude the religious freedom restoration act. congress would be taking affirmative action to not include protections. religious freedom doesn't protect winners and losers, it performs a balancing test. the government may burden someone else's religious exercise only if the burden is in furtherance of the least
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restrictive means of furthering government interest. just in the last seven years, 58% of the cases haven't been dealing with christian religion, what is the majority religion in the u.s. 58% of the cases have been minority religions that have been protected in the u.s. why is this an issue? over the course of the last year, we have seen houses of worship across the country that have served as locations for covid testing and vaccine distribution. they provided food, clothing, rental assistance, as they always do. under the equality act, all of those houses of worship would be categorized as public accommodations as an establishment. deeming houses of worship as a public accommodation subjects them to needless litigation and the equality act would strip them of the very defense they were given in 1993. the bill defines sex to include pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
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to be clear, our federal law already protects people from pregnancy discrimination, as it should. it also clarified those laws do not require employers to pay for abortion, except in very limited circumstances. without clarifying language, medical conditions related to pregnancy will include abortion and the equality act will mandate churches pay for health care coverage for abortion without these protections. the aclu in 1992 saw this exact issue as a reason to pass that religious freedom restoration act. for those of us who believe a baby is not just a medical condition, for the people who believe children of any age or size or degree of development are worthy of life, we are not bigots. we are people who live by our genuine faith and see a child as a child. i believe that we can respect each other.
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we can have real dialogue over these issues that are complicated and difficult and we can find a way to pass something that honors every american but doesn't discriminate against people of faith. >> thank you. our next witness from mississippi is senator smith -- senator hyde smith. senator highsmith: good morning. i am honored to be here today to discuss this misnamed equality act. it is misnamed because although it purports the prevention of discrimination, it causes it by undermining protections for women. by changing the meaning of the word sex under the federal law to encompass gender identity and by applying that definition across context and without
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exception this law eliminates , private spaces for biological women including single-sex , schools, dormitories, and sports teams. as the first woman elected to represent mississippi at the federal level, i am reminded on a daily basis that my presence here wouldn't be possible without generations of brave women who came before me. they fought tirelessly for american women, and i have benefited from that work. one area where women have long been underrepresented is on the playing field. before the passage of title ix in 1972, girls and women didn't have the same opportunity that boys and men did when it came to athletics, and specifically with college athletic scholarships. title ix change that. -- title ix changed that. statistics showed that since the passage of this important law, female participation in sports has increased more than 900%.
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unfortunately, the equality act would undermine that progress, opening positions on women's teams to biological men. not just transgender athletes, who have blocked the onset of puberty, but also those who are living as women. but any male who simply says he identifies as female, whether transgender or not. this is the problem created by the act when it substitutes the vague and open-ended term gender identity for the word sex. gender identity can mean almost anything and it becomes the exception that swallows the rule. i am particularly concerned about how this all will affect women's sports. allowing male bodied athletes to compete against females in sports like basketball would
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totally undermine girl's sports. last year, duke law school professor coleman had the opportunity to testify before the house judiciary committee to express her concerns with how the equality act would affect women's athletics. she looked specifically at the athletic data of three female athletes who won gold medals for team usa. comparing those achievements to the athletic performance of thousands of boys and men who were considered second-tier athletes. the results were astonishing. this is important. the data makes it clear that even superb olympic medal winning female athletes would lose to male bodied athletes that are considered second-tier in the men's category. i have submitted professor coleman's findings for the record today in addition to my written testimony. i urge every member of this
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committee to review these findings before considering voting on legislation that fails to recognize these facts. this is because the onset of puberty and the associated higher testosterone levels leaving male bodied athletes with significant advantages over female athletes. i know the importance of sports for females from my own first-hand experience playing youth and high school basketball. my mother played basketball, i played basketball, and my daughter has played basketball. point guards are pretty tough. my experiences playing basketball as part of a team of girls helped develop my character and confidence to lead me where i am today, the first female member of congress for mississippi. -- from mississippi. i have seen firsthand what female athletes have done for my daughter in terms of teaching
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confidence, teams and ship -- teamsmanship, and the values of learning how to compete well. had my daughter or i been forced to compete with or against biological males, the situation would be totally different. i am not the only one who has recognized the importance of protecting the male athletes in female sports. mississippians across my state is the importance of protecting equal opportunity for female athletes. indeed, just last week our state enacted the mississippi fairness act, a law that requires athletes to compete in the division of their biological sex at birth. i am concerned that these so-called equality act before us today would override what states like mississippi are doing to protect women and women's sports. >> senator, if you could
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conclude, please. >> i will continue to fight on behalf of the people of mississippi and girls across america to protect the athletic opportunities. god loves everyone of us and everyone of us are his creation and we should all be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity. for everyone. thank you. >> thank you. senator blackburn from tennessee and a member of our committee. sen. blackburn: thank you. i, along with so many of my colleagues, share great compassion for anyone who feels diminishment or discrimination. i believe that all people should be treated with the dignity and respect, and they should be treated equally. this is a constitutional guarantee. here in the united states, women have fought hard for equal treatment.
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the equality act is drafted undermines the fight by putting women in danger and taking away the right of women to feel safe in women-only spaces like domestic violence shelters and prisons. it should be obvious why we don't want men to have open access to women-only shelters. let's get a few examples on the record. in alaska, the city of anchorage passed their own version of the equality act and a women's shelter was investigated by the state equal rights commission after the shelter turned away transgender woman. in the end, they were vindicated by a court ruling recognizing their status as a faith-based nonprofit. imagine how it must have felt for the vulnerable women in the shelter to watch as investigators weaponized these new standards against what
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should have been a safe haven. a shelter in california went in the opposite direction and chose to ignore abuse by a transgender man against a group of women rather than risk a complaint. i have been speaking with representatives from shelters in tennessee and they are extremely concerned about how the equality act would affect their ability not only to protect women, but to support them mentally and emotionally. they only want to do what they do best, which is helping to make women feel safe and protected. now, society does not look upon incarcerated women with the same sympathy as it does abused women. i would assert that one it comes to safety, it shouldn't matter if those women are in shelters
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or in part prisons. women serving sentences for crimes they committed should not be put into situations where they cannot escape and made victims to other crimes. women's safety is fundamental to the fight for women's rights. why, i would ask my colleagues, would they push so hard for a regressive, repressive piece of legislation that walks back women's rights and endangers women's lives? women should never have to fear for their safety because they are forced to share spaces with men. i would urge my colleagues to take a step back and ask themselves why they believe that forcing vulnerable women into these dangerous situations would somehow represent a step in the right direction. thank you. >> we have three guests from the house.
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i would like to ask senator whitehouse to introduce the first congressman. senator whitehouse thank you. : it is a great pleasure for me to introduce my friend and colleague in the rhode island delegation. david cicilline. we will remember him from serving so well as a manager in the impeachment proceedings. david was by my recollection the first rhode islanders in government as a young state representative in the opposition wilderness to come forward as a gay person. for a long time, he was alone. this was not easy always, but his career is characterized by courage. i am very proud to welcome him to our committee today. >> thank you for the warm
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introduction and inviting me to stay -- to speak today. this legislation is long overdue. equality is a long founded principle of this country. as a nation, we endeavor to afford every american equal protection under the law. sometimes we stumble, but we struggle onward. this is an opportunity to take a strong step forward and ensure equal protection under the law for lgbtq americans so we may live lives free from discrimination. it is a time for our laws to guarantee equal rights for all people. i am grateful that the american public already has a profound understanding of the need for equal protections for lgbtq americans. polls consistently find americans support lgbtq nondiscrimination laws.
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a 2020 poll found that 83% of americans favor laws that would protect lgbtq people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. compared to only 16% who oppose the law. a research poll released this morning confirms overwhelming support for the equality act. the majority of americans in every state support equal protection to the lgbtq community. they showed the majority of democrats, independents, and republicans favored nondiscrimination laws to protect lgbtq people. similarly, an incredible number of businesses and organizations support the act. 628 organizations from across the political spectrum from the afl-cio, naacp, national pta, chamber of commerce, the national association of manufacturers all support this bill. hundreds of great american
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countries from kellogg to hershey to 3m have said they want the equality act to become law. i believe most americans will be shocked to know that their lgbtq family members, friends, and neighbors are not already protected from discrimination. many assume that the community is currently protected under law. this is our chance to expand the civil rights laws to ensure equal protection to all americans. i am pleased to say the house passed equality act in a bipartisan way in february. i look forward to this committee carefully reviewing the legislation and to the ultimate passage so that in preventing discrimination, it gives millions of americans closer to the ideals upon which this country was founded. thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> thank you, congressman.
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next, we have congresswoman hartzler. she represents the fourth district of missouri. rep. hartzler: is a privilege to be with you this morning. thank you for the opportunity to testify in opposition to the equality act. first, let me say, targeting someone based on their race, gender, or religion is always wrong. our laws attest to that. the measure under consideration victimizes women, could be interpreted to ban women's colleges and sororities and decimates girls sports -- girl's sports. the equality act creates discrimination against any american who is reasonable sincerely held view of humans sexuality and gender conflicts with the governments morphing ideology. this is not only wrong, but it endangers women's safety in locker rooms, bathrooms, dorm
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rooms, and homeless shelters. as a former public school teacher, i am concerned about its impact on women in education. the equality act threatens to halt federal assistance for women it single-sex colleges and universities. while title ix provides exemptions for women's colleges, like smith, moorhouse, and wellesley, title vi does not. the equality act modification of title vi will deny assistance to students at iconic female institutions of higher education. the same applies to sororities and fraternities. greek letter organizations will need to become coed or disband. the equality act provides no exemptions. as the measure allows anyone anywhere for any reason to claim an identity, it also leaves women in single-sex storms vulnerable to college-age males identifying or posing as women. women who want to be housed with other women may find they have been placed with a biological male as a roommate. a woman's choice won't matter.
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drafted with an agenda and not to rectify seeming inequality in civil rights laws, the equality rights impact will realize the k-12 education, especially sports. female athletics is close to my heart. it takes my breath away to think that under the guise of antidiscrimination, members are willing to sacrifice a young girl's opportunity to compete on a level playing field. rising high school track stars are not even given a chance to fairly compete. i would ask that the testimony from four female athletes be included in the record. in closing, i asked members of the committee to closely consider the impact of the act on all communities, but especially how it wipes out nearly 50 years of title ix successes and reject this harmful bill that would set back women's rights and endanger their future. thank you.
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i yield back. >> without objection, the items you have asked for will be included in the record. our last witness from the house is congresswoman newman. she is a cosponsor of the bill and the mother of a transgender daughter. rep. newman: thank you chairman, ranking member, members of the committee, and allowing me to talk today. this issue is very personal to me. i also would like to say happy st. patrick's day to everyone. the most important thing in life is to be authentic. we all understand that. as a reminder, we already have freedom of religion in our constitution and it does not discriminate against religion. i want to tell you the story of our family, because that is the story of millions of american families. more than five years ago before she had transitioned, my
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daughter at just 14 years old had experienced deep depression and anxiety. unable to identify the cause of her pain, she told her parents that the only two solutions she felt were either suicide or running away. i will state that again. she was in such a spot she felt that suicide or running away were the only options. heartbroken but determined not to lose our child, we enrolled in a local day therapy program. one night after her program, my daughter perked up in her chair at the dinner table, excited to share some news. she told us she had figured it out. "i'm not a boy. i'm a girl and my name is evi newman." everything had clicked at that moment. she had been pretending to be something she wasn't. she wasn't being authentic. as we all know, it is the hardest in the world to pretend every day. it was the happiest day of our lives.
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our family was whole again. as a mother, i knew the challenges ahead. my daughter would not grow up in a nation where she could be discriminated against because of who she was. that was upsetting to me. she could be thrown out of a restaurant, she could be evicted from her apartment, she could be denied access to education and denied health care. just because of who she is. on top of that, the likelihood of facing hateful, violent acts , and she has, verbal and physical for simply existing and being her authentic self, was almost a certainty. signing the equality act into law isn't going to change that reality overnight. it will not. but, it will ensure that americans like my daughter are afforded the same civil rights already extended to every other american across the nation. that is all it's about.
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it's about equality. we aren't asking for anything special or different. equality and nothing more. no american should have to live a lie. imagine if i asked any of you on the committee today to simply try being someone you absolutely are not. to try being the opposite gender of the way you feel deeply. to try to be something that you are not every day is very difficult. do this for a week, a month, year, and i guarantee you will feel deep depression, great anxiety, and even suicidal. if you pass this legislation, we can show millions of americans that their government accepts them and will protect them for who they are. i encourage all of you to not weaponize religion and not weaponize red herrings about sports. i encourage you to talk to your
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faith leaders and your sports directors at all of your colleges because i have talked to many of them, and they encouraged me. they were excited i was speaking today on behalf of my family. as i said in the beginning, being authentic is the most important thing to do. truth is real and should be part of this act, and it is. thank you and i am here to help any of you with any questions privately or publicly. i am happy to help and i yield back. >> thank you. thank you for your testimony and joining us this morning. i am going to turn to our panel of witnesses. we have five witnesses. i will introduce the majority witnesses and i will turn to ranking member grassley to introduce the minority witnesses. the first on the democratic side is alfonso david, served as the president of the human rights campaign in 2019. he is the first civil-rights lawyer and first person of color to serve as president of hrc in the 40 year history. dr. edith is the second witness.
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she has worked for the united church of christ for almost 30 years. she currently serves as the minister of the kansas, oklahoma conference. she provides support for 60 churches. she is a board member for the first and largest organization for lgbtq people, their parents, families, and allies. last but not least, this stella keating -- ms. stella keating is joining us from tacoma, washington. she is completely involved in politics. she has collaborated with her local city council from a surprisingly young age. senator grassley? senator grassley: i have the privilege of introducing abigail. she is an independent journalist. her work has appeared frequently in the wall street journal. she authored a 2020 book titled,
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"irreversible damage: the transgender craze seducing our daughters." she is a yale educated lawyer who resides with her young family in los angeles. mary rice hassan is a fellow at the washington, d.c. ethics and policy center. her research is on politically effective women, families, and religious freedom. she is a widely published author and a mother of seven. >> thank you. my staff told me i said stella was six years old. she 16. -- she is 16. a big difference. i am sorry for the mistake. each witness has about five minutes for their opening statement. there will be one round of questions.
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each senator has about five minutes to ask. could all witnesses please stand to be sworn in? if you are able. raise your right hand. do you affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> let the record reflect the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. mr. david, would you senator, durbin, i will be with you in a minute. thank you so much. chairman derman, -- chairman durbin, ranking member grassley, thank you for the opportunity to be before you today. my name is alphonso david. i represent the human rights
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campaign, an organization working to achieve equality for lesbian gay -- lesbian, bait -- lesbian, gay, sexual, transgender individuals. our partners and leaders are fighting for equality. and i am here today not only as a legal expert, but as a black gay man, and a public servant. when i returned with my family, how the freedom promised was one with contingencies and came to understand that my life was less important because of the color of my skin. i came to understand that living my truth would cost me greatly.
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from acceptance in my own family to pursuing my dreams. too many people in the lgbtq community live with the real cost of inequality. despite the progress we have made, discrimination is alive and well in the country and we need to address it. despite all of the work we have done we know that lgbtq people of color face discrimination. more face discrimination 2020, including three out of five transgender americans. discrimination is not only pervasive, but it has devastating consequences. there is an epidemic of violence against the transgender
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community pushed by transphobia, sexism, homophobia. black trans women live daily the threat of violence at every level of government. they are more likely to live in poverty and have serious negative health outcomes. as well as lack access to opportunities. you have the power to deliver the change our kids need by making this the law of the land. we're codifying the supreme court decision for lgbtq people in many areas of life including , housing, education, credit, and jury service. we also add sexual orientation and gender identity.
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less known, but as critical the protection for race and religion. title ii of the civil rights act in 1964 addresses the most visible areas of racism in the nation. this narrow scope is how it was and continues to be insufficient. people of color continue to face discrimination on a daily basis in a range of settings including salons, car services, and taxes. in fact a study found that 63% of black shoppers experience unfair treatment related to racism. the equality act amends the law for the americans with disabilities act and state laws
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across the nation. given that any member of the public could reasonably fact to make sure that no one is denied the opportunity to fully participate in society. this updates the civil rights law because of inconsistencies that exist, the nondiscrimination laws in policies. last year, the virginia values act made it the first southern state to add statewide protection for lgbtq people and
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for all statewide character -- categories. the patchwork of lot leaves many people to uncertainty. in addition to these necessities, it's important to know that over two thirds of americans support these protections, including 94% of democrats, 68% of republicans. these protections are supported by solid majorities across all 50 states and age groups. they also support the equality act. people of faith across the political spectrum also support the equality act, because they believe in the dignity and work of every person.
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finally more than 630 organizations involving women's rights, and health care, education, child welfare, and of -- have endorsed the equality act. representative john lewis said two years ago when the equality act was introduced, we need to do what is fair, right, and just. we need the equality act to set people free. lgbtq people live in every part of this country, in every small town, every community and native territory. we are veterans, nurses. teachers, parents, and artists. we are your colleagues. and all we are asking for is for the same protection under law that should be guaranteed to every single person.
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thank you. >> thanks very much, mr. david. our next witness. >> thank you, chairman durbin. ranking member grassley, members of the committee, i am mary hassan. hassan. let me begin by stating clearly i believe discrimination is always wrong. all americans should be treated equally. we are created male or female from conception. today we have heard about the threats posed by the equality act to females. i share those concerns. because biological sex matters for law, medicine, and many of us. for many of us it affects the practice of our faith. it redefines sex with no
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reference to biological distinction between male and female. unlike, the equality act defined as stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancies, sexual desires with gender identity and the equality act thus cements the ideological belief that it can be self defined and it punishes those who dissent, but sex does matter. only females experience female puberty. pregnancy, birth, and menopause. biology also makes females uniquely vulnerable to having their safety and privacy compromised. nine out of 10 rate victims are female.
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when the law privileges gender identity, females feel the consequences. the african-american team learn to stand up for herself early on. alexis asked the school to protect her privacy. the school refused. when alexis sued, the judge cited against her telling her and millions of girls like her that their safety does not matter. when gender identity is privileged over biological sex females are in danger. the equality act causes serious harm. it strips away crucial protections and attacks first amendment rights, tipping the scales against religious
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believers. the equality act also reaches far beyond and pertains to the worksite. it expands to public accommodations to mean wherever people gather. they will be subject to coercion. recipients of federal funds are also impacted. even for the simple act of maintaining sex segregated bathrooms. this means that a christian center will be punished for doing good. while following their religious teachings. the same is true for those participating in federal school lunch programs. urban catholic schools provide life changing education to lower urban children.
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faith-based adoption and care programs also threatened. st. vincent's catholic charities specializes in finding homes, for special needs children, matching them with loving mothers and fathers. but michigan has a different agenda. it ended its partnerships to punish them for their beliefs. when st. vincent's sued the state, the real goal was not to promote nondiscriminatory child placement but to replace it with the state own belief.
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they seek to coerce religious believers to exit the public square unless they are willing to trade their religious beliefs for today's raining ideology. if the first amendment means anything, -- for these reasons i oppose the equality act. thank you. chairman durbin: thank you. our next witness is miss edith duffy. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member grassley, and members of the committee, for the opportunity to speak today. for so many who are depending not only just me, but the legislation of equal treatment under the law. like all of you, i am a person of faith, an african-american
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woman, the leader of a faith institution and a mother. , i also have welt with hundreds of thousands of members of the national board of directors, but in all of my identities my most important will be my children. my husband and i have two adult children. they could not be more different. but we are proud of them both. our older child brian never had any doubt they would be loved and accepted for who they are because that is the message they always received from my husband and me and from the faith community of the united church of christ. brian wanted to be fully out to
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everyone, but at the time my husband and i were afraid for his safety, being black and gay in a predominantly white school, you bet we were afraid. he had to live a reality where he was beloved at home, but not fully affirmed or protected in other places. without the equality act the law does not fully protect me as a woman or my trans-, non-binary child i want brian to have the same protections and rights as my other child. they have never had to worry about acceptance. choices are framed or limited.
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michael can choose to live wherever he pleases, but brian makes those choices based on where he feels safe and where local laws protect him we should agree on one thing. the law should treat god's children equally. all of our children deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. every single one of us wants the best for our children. none of us want them to be turned away for any reason. now i understand that we all come from different places and maybe this seems so simple to me because i consider the merits of the equality act with an african-american woman knows the legacy of racial discrimination and i know how faith is used to
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justify slavery. but that was wrong and most faith communities today admit that. no one should be denied rights and services based on who they are or who they love. any kind of discrimination is inconsistent with someone that you love and trust. many organizations already welcome lgbtq persons into the faith with children of god. we fully support the equality act, and while that matters to me what matters most will always be my children and i am here as bryan's mother primarily. faith is always very personal. what i believe matters.
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it matters that i believe that god is love. but what really matters for brian and me as a woman is the law. it is a way to make the biblical golden rule the law of the land. for me, it really is that simple. thank you. chairman durbin: thank you very much, miss guffey. >> chairman durbin, ranking member grassley, gay and esteemed members of this committee. gay and transgender americans are living today with less fear and stigma than it any -- then at any point in history and that makes me very happy. it should make us all proud. if s3 93 propose to extend
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employment and housing rights to gay and transgender americans i would be supporting this bill instead of testifying against it. i am here because the bill does much more and no one who wrote it appears to have considered what it would mean for women and girls. members of the committee, if your daughter or granddaughter was a top high school tennis player in her state, and then suddenly decided at the age of 17 to identify as female. if a woman in your state commits a crime, should she be put in a facility with males, some of whom are sex offenders, navy -- some of whom only began identifying as female weeks earlier?
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all of whom who could overpower her. if a preschool has a policy that only female teachers may accompany little girls to the bathroom and your daughter's male teacher suddenly identifies as female, that teacher have a legal entitlement to accompany her? does that strike anyone in this room as safe or sensible? should a female domestic abuse survivor be forced to sleep and undressed next to a biological male. it is certainly not just to take away these hard-won protections for women and girls in the name of equality. supporters of this bill do not appear concerned. they are concerned about progressive groups who will call you a transphob or homophobe if
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you do not do exactly as they say. this bill would make it possible to distinguish between a woman and a biological male who claims a female identity for whatever amount of time or for whatever reason or purpose and gender identity can be very ephemeral. even prominent gender therapists can attest that people can be on a gender journey and identify is one thing one day and one thing the next. should we undermine women's sports to allow gender fluid men on a gender fluid journey? in washington they began housing inmates due to gender identity half a dozen men transitioned into female housing.
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one male raped a female. and that has nothing to do with transgender people in every thing to do with opportunistic self defecation by violent male subjects. i have probably interviewed more transgender americans than any person in this room and i can honestly say that most do not want to obliterate women's rights in safe places. most would never think of stealing scholarships by forcing young women into demoralizing contests with male bodies. but gender ideology which is at the heart of this bill is misogyny in progressive clothing. gender ideology tells women and girls that they are not entitled to their fear or sense of unfairness. they must never object. that sports have always been a matter of biology, not identity. we must keep women's protective spaces for biological women, because it's not our identity that is at risk.
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it's our bodily integrity. being a woman is a lifetime commitment. it entails profound blessings but also physical vulnerabilities. for generations, women like the late justice ruth bader ginsburg fought to create sex-based protections to make life safe and fair for women if you --. if you vote to take away those rights, do not pretend you have achieved a civil rights victory. in the name of inclusivity, you will have made life far less safe, far less fair, and far less inclusive for women. thank you. chairman durbin: thank you, ms. shrier. our next witness is 16-year-old stella. stella: good morning. my name is stella. my pronouns are she/her. i want to start by thanking the chairman, the staff, and the committee for the opportunity to speak to you today.
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it's the honor of my lifetime to be here. i'm 16 years old. i just got my drivers license, which was a great day. like all teenagers i have an interest in legislature. i have been hiking and playing chess. i love history, and one of my goals to become a civil rights attorney. my mom, lisa, is on our school board. she has spent years running a that she has spent years running a youth leadership group. both have taught me the value of hard work and the responsibility that we have to give back to our
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community and be of service to others i mentioned before it is the honor of my life to be here. ever since i was in fourth grade, i have been drawn to politics. i remember i had to stand on my toes, to get to the microphone. but i didn't care because i want to have an impact. everything i have done since the has been to create positive . the gender cool project leads transitioning, and non-binary youth. so i would like to introduce myself again. my name is stella. i am transgender. i am here today representing hundreds of thousands of kids
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just like me who are supported and loved by their families and communities across the country. now i want to share with you why the equality act is so important. through gendercool, i have traveled across the country in person and, more recently with 16 of my peers. i am so humbled by how some of the biggest companies on the planet, are lifting up my voices so that they can become places where young people like me will want to work. they recognize that we are the next gen workforce. they want to attract the best talent, and they know that this is a country where everyone belongs. but here's where things fall apart, right now i live in a state where i have equal protection under the law.
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and when i look at colleges, all can think is less than half of states in our country provide equal protection for me. right now i can be denied medical care, or evicted for simply being transgender in several states. how is that even right? how is that even american? why would i want a job in a state where i could be discriminated against? i have to live somewhere. i have to have a doctor. and why am i have -- having to worry about this at age 16. this is the united states of america, the country i love. every young person, every person, regardless of who they are or who they love should be excited about their future. i have big goals in life. in addition to becoming a civil rights attorney i'm determined , to run for public office. i represent america's future.
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we are the next generation of , small business owners, software engineers, scientists, and presidents. for my generation to achieve all of that, we just need to be able to live our lives. in closing you should just spent some time with me. you've learned a little bit about my values. and now you don't believe i should have the same rights as other young people. this has an impact not only on the lives of kids like me, but i -- on the future of our country. i would like to thank you, chairman personally. thank you. chairman durbin: thank you,
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stella. excellent presentation. let me start the questioning. we have five-minute rounds. some of our members have gone to the floor to vote. they will be coming in and out, this is no sign of disrespect. let me say that this is not the only issue, but two dominant issues that continue to appear are issues involving the equality act and religion and sports, particularly women's sports. so let me start with the religion issue if i might. i respect very much pope francis. i must respectfully disagree with the announcement he made monday. he made an announcement to the vatican that the blessing of
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homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. he has stated his position before on people of different sexual orientation but there is some cloud over where the church stands, but when it comes to marriage equality, what the pope said was the catholic church will not bless that union. i want to ask you mr. david, there are religions that take similar positions. what do you believe the passage of the equality act will do. willie changed the decision by the church or threaten it? >> no, it would not change any pronouncements announced by religious institutions. they can determine the standards
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for inclusion, they can determine the structure of their synagogues and mosques. that is very different provide public accommodations. in those cases yes i is a black man or eyes a gay man should be able to walk into a store, that is different. chairman durbin: let me ask my first question to stella -- i want to make it clear on the record, i don't want to speak for others, there's no one who condones sexual harassment or assault under any circumstances
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, and there's no intent to put -- weaken those standards in this debate here. but the impact of this law on people in their high school, college years particularly those who participate in sports -- you're a high school sophomore yourself -- i would like your -- to have your reaction to this point about transgender women participating in sports and also reflect for a moment on the real concerns you might have beyond the high school experience as to what you might experience in college? stella: thank you for the question. i am honestly not a very
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sporting person. i can tell you though last year, before covid hit i was planning on joining a team and i wanted to do it because a lot of my friends were on this bowling team and i really wanted to hang out with them, that was basically it. i can tell you the majority of the transgender people are doing sports just want to hang out with their friends and that is basically it. high school, going to college, the equality act will also help me feel safe because there's a huge chance i could follow love -- fall in love with another
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college outside my state but i would not be protected there and then i cannot go to that college. so the equality act will allow me to go to any college i want to. chairman durbin: thank you very much. i would like to ask mr. david ms. schreier said that gay and , transgender americans are living with less stigma than any point in history. can you talk about this and even violence basically with ellsbury -- facing lgbtq americans? mr. david: yes. two thirds lgbtq people report determination in this country. last year alone we had 24 transgender women who were killed in this country. more than any other year in recorded history. so i appreciate the contention
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that lgbtq people are free for -- of fear of discrimination, but that does not reflect the facts. we live in fear. we live not knowing if we can walk home safely at night and that is reflected in the fact that 44 transgender women -- most of them black and brown, were killed more last year than any other time in history. as we talk about the equality act, we have to make sure that this is driven by facts and a lot of the information we have seen is not about the equality act. the equality act does not in any way undermine the rights of others, it simply provides legal protection for lgbtq people. i said in my opening statement, and it is worth repeating we
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, face discrimination. that means i could face discrimination if i go to a taxi or a car service. i could face termination going into a resale store, or serving on a jury. that is real and that's happening every single day. that is why we are asking for the equality act. so that we are treated in the same way as everyone else. ask yourself, is it fair that i am protected from this termination as a black man but if i walk into a room as a , gay man, i am not protected? that is why we are fighting for the equality act. according to a young athlete, she runs track at high school in
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connecticut, she lost multiple state championships because her state ignores the biological advantages of males and females. she maintains in a written statement and i want to partially quote that we need separate sports categories in order to fairly compete. this is what title ix was intended to protect and preserve. if biological males are to p in female sports there will be no more female sports. so, how big is the difference between young men and women? >> the difference is massive. the biological effects that occur at male puberty creates a gap between men and women with strength and speed. the organized -- organ not
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organizational effects of testosterone gives men larger hearts, larger lungs. vastly greater muscle mass, greater bone density, fast twitch muscle fiber. all things necessary in a contest of strength and speed. and in states, where they are able to compete with the top female athletes, they walked out with 13 out of 14 championship events. senator grassley: some will use puberty blockers prior to adolescence while others will not, so will you explain this subject and how this will affect women sports, expand on if you want to. >> in my research i have come to the realization that puberty is
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a major dividing line in terms of permanent and unbridgeable it confers on male bodies. i think it's sensible to arrive at a nuanced solution so that transgender children can fully participate in sports, which i they can and should feel safe and secure to do. but the equality act applies a wrecking ball to female sports by insisting on any male who claims to be female for any of time in his senior year perhaps is entitled to walk onto the girls team and take one of those spots senator grassley: the act has loopholes that would allow criminals to exploit vulnerable girls who reside in
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these facilities? this is because the bill is overbroad and changes the legal definition of the term sex that that erases women from anti-determination laws, education, and the playing field. do we have reason to be concerned? that someone might use the act as a legal protection. i assume there's a disadvantage to do so because transgender individuals face a lot of discrimination, but could bad actors exploit this? it shows that you don't need to be transgender to take advantage of this act. this is not about transgender people being violent. they are not violent. that would be a lie against them.
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any male felon could announce he was female and make absolutely no changes and go to a women's prison. senator grassley: ms. hassan, some have argued that it may result it to an end in federal reserve -- result in years of unnecessary protracted litigation for houses of faith and other faith-based entities and it would compel an individual to federal partnerships with thousands of faith based programs that serve the most vulnerable people in the united states. are they correct? and if you want to say why that would be worthwhile as well. >> thank you, senator. yes. those are correct concerns. if i could go back to a point earlier where he said in response to the chairman's question, the distinction he
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drew was it's not your church and your beliefs, and your ability to live your faith out in the public square. as justice thomas wrote he talked about religious liberty, including, not just the right to believe but freedom of action. in this country we are blessed to have a robust civil society for people of all faiths, whether it is jewish or christian or catholic that contributes to caring for the most vulnerable because their faith inspires them to do so and in fact the religious freedom business foundation puts a number on it and they say the religious contributions to the economy amount to $1.2 trillion.
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but when we get to looking at things like substance abuse and recovery, things like that, we can see the dynamic difference that houses of worship make, the the faith inspired activities difference this makes in people's lives. so it inspires the government. more importantly it saves about 20,000 lives. and so, this is because people of faith carry out their beliefs and what the equality act does is it slams the door and says get back inside. you cannot live your beliefs. you cannot act as a person of faith who holds these particular beliefs. and that's not equality. that's not fairness. that's not true civil rights. we do not expand the safety and freedom of one group by taking
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systems that are serving so many people. we need to find a way to respect the people of faith and take them into the public square and find a way to live their beliefs. my time is up i will come back if there is a second round and if there is and i will submit more questions for riding. chairman durbin: i believe senator lahey has returned from the vote -- senator, are you there? senator lahey: i think i am coming through now. can you hear me? chairman durbin: i can hear you. your five minutes. take it away, senator lahey. senator lahey: mr. chairman. i am glad that you are having these hearings. and you worked with me on the effort to reenact the the lahey-crapo bill had bipartisan
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support. we make sure that we greatly expanded the act, to cover the lgbtq community, the native american community, and the sexual expectation of children. we got an overwhelming vote in the senate and in the house and president obama signed into law. i mentioned that, because some of the same concerns are being expressed by legislation. now in this i would ask that the , senate work to reauthorize the violence against women act.
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lgb dq survivors -- lgbtq people are facing barriers that we should be aware of? while we are waiting -- for somebody to come back with an answer on that, i will also ask, because i chair the senate appropriations committee. i want to ensure that the nondiscrimination funds reaching lgbtq survivors. directly and effectively. mr. david: senator lahey, this is alphonso david. i am happy to answer the question -- senator lahey: go ahead. and also would you talk about
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where survivors of abuse, where they most likely want to reach services, go ahead sir. >> i think it is important to note that women who are survivors they are going to seek help. if we don't have protections for lgbtq people. you can instances where women are turned away because they were lgbtq or transgender.
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we are seeing instances where religion is being used as a shield and it cannot be used as , a shield. we know that survivors of violence seek out support from many facilities. and if you are open to the public and providing the services for the public, how you justified nine services based on their sexual orientation or status. so again those arguments we have heard before with regard to these negative impacts that we know to be the case. i also think it is important to highlight that we have had several lights -- civil-rights laws on the books since the 1970's. we know the law has been on the books since the 1970's. we know that civil rights law's have protected people, in
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illinois, and a soda, minnesota, it's important that we talk about making short this is driven by facts, not fear. because we have heard the fear. senator lahey: mr. david, i appreciate your answer. as you know i am wearing the hat of the judiciary committee. this is very helpful. i would like to ask a question. i direct this question to her. the pandemic has posed unique challenges to survivors of
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domestic violence, and sexual assault. the pride center in vermont reports the number of survivors has doubled during the pandemic for the lgbtq youth, particularly in the rural areas it has heart -- been hard to get out. so, let me ask you speaking out as you did, i listen to your testimony earlier. can you talk about the challenges you have experienced during the pandemic, and how specialized programs or transgender teens should seek help. thank you very much, i will be honest i am not the expert on all of this. i may ask mr. david to respond because i am not an expert on that subject. senator lahey: well, is it true
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that the number of survivors seeking services has doubled during the pandemic? let me ask mr. david if he would would like to respond on the question and they can add to their answers later on if they want. mr. david: senator, we have seen an increase. as a result of covid-19, me to make sure that the services being provided are being provided in a nondiscriminatory way. unfortunately in some states they do not have copperheads of legal protection. so if you are a victim of domestic violence you may face determination when seeking out
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resources. this is very real for people. we have now been dealing with covid-19 for more than a year. we are seeing an increase in domestic violence. senator lahey: thank you. i will keep that in mind when the funding comes. i don't want to screw nation of any sort -- discrimination of any sort. durbin: thank you, senator lahey. >> pronounce your last name for me. >> shrier. senator cornyn: i know you are a journalist by profession. but i am curious how you are drawn into this discussion. i know you've written a book on the topic.
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did you describe a little bit of what brought you into this topic. >> yes, a woman wrote to me and she told me her daughter who never showed any sign of gender disorientation in her youth, but nevertheless she had other mental health problems, she had anxiety and depression and other , but nothing like gender disorder. but nonetheless she went off to college and with her girlfriend, they all decided within a short time they were transgender. she told me about adolescent girls deciding they were transgender often under peer pressure. she told me this is occurring all across the west. but no one wanted to report on and i tried to find an investigative journalist who would take this up and i sent all of the contacts to an investigative journalist and when i realized no one else went
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to take this up, i wrote the first piece about it for "the wall street journal." senator cornyn: i am curious about the impact of the so-called equality act on the religious freedom restoration act, which was a bipartisan piece of legislation signed into law by president clinton. rifra, as it sometimes called, requires courts to strike a sensible balance between religious liberty and prior government competing interests. what it does not say is the religious interests always win. in your view commit how does the so-called equality act impact the religious freedom and restoration act ? the question was for miss
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hassan. i know in the age of zoom, sometimes we are all technologically challenged. let me go on to another question and maybe she can rejoin us. what i am triggering -- what i'm trying to figure out ms. shrier, again, i am looking at things from battered women's shelters. as a father of two daughters, i still think it's important for young girls girls to get the confidence in the physical and the full ability to in sports under title ix. and then i think about faith-based organizations,
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foster care, universities, adoption agencies. am i wrong to be concerned about the equality act having in a negative impact on each of those institutions. >> i don't think you are wrong, senator. i believe it abrogates it, it would not apply. but to create a religious exemption, but obviously the other test of fire was here to speak about that, but with female athletes, they are the only ones asked to sacrifice here for the sake of the equality act. the sacrifice is entirely on the
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shoulder of the women and girls. men have no comparable sacrifice when a biological female enters their spaces, or a biological female, however she identifies competes in their sports. it does not threaten their spaces, safety safety and it , does not threaten their opportunities. >> ms. hassan are you still with us? >> i am, i hope you can hear. >> can you talk about the impact of the so-called equality act which i think would probably be better titled the preferential treatment act then the equality act. >> yes, it is written that the religious freedom act will not be available as a credible source or a claim. when we think about the state and sort of the laboratories of how these kinds of protections for sexual orientation and
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gender identity work out, we see numerous situations play out and with this equality act by stripping those protections it puts the thumb on the scale against people of faith. the other thing that the equality act does, it expects to limit, that this statute by definition serves a compelling governmental interest. it tips the scale and a way that says to people of faith, you are not welcome, you are not welcome to serve, you are not welcome to bring your faith into the public square. it is unnecessary. we can protect the most vulnerable without telling people of faith that there is no
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place for them. >> how did it make you feel that under the bill that it refers to marriage between a man and a woman as a sex stereotype and stigmatizes the beliefs of hundreds of millions of americans including catholics, evangelicals, jews, mormons, and muslims? ms. hasson: i noticed that that was listed as a sex stereotype. i would remind the committee and all americans how justice kennedy spoke about this. in a decision, he talked about the honorable belief that people have held for centuries regarding marriage between a man and a woman. and so people of faith need to have space to believe what they believe and to live that out authentically. it should not be disparaged and certainly not in statutory language.
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>> thank you senator cornyn. in the absence of the chairman, who is gone to the floor to vote i will be replacing. first, ms. keating, thank you for sharing your personal testimonies with us. and as a parent myself, i know your parents must be unbelievably proud of you in testifying. there have been a lot of discussion so far. dr. duffy, you have spoken about your personal faith and how it informs your belief that all of us should be treated with dignity, and respect, and not discriminated against. yesterday, i met with a group of leaders from faith for equality, a coalition that has collected
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17,000 signatures from across the country and literally, every state in the country, and i will submit this to the record, but but is a petition of clergy, community leaders, advocates, and people us faith who support the equality act. some of the leaders are well-known like sister simone campbell, the director of network lobby for catholic social justice, better known as leader of nuns on the bus. reverend jennifer butler, from my own denomination, the presbyterian church, maggie siddiq, and others. more generally, the equality act is endorsed by one hundred one
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law would and would not do and in particular, directly and the exercise of faith and its practice in worship. in your view, is there anyway that the equality act would result in houses of worship being forced to perform services, activities, actions to which they object as a matter of faith and doctrine? dr. guffey: thank you for the question and thank you for the opportunity to address this. as i have said in my statement, faith is so important and a bedrock for so many people. there is nothing in the equality acted that will force any house of worship to do anything that
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is against their faith. one of the things that is so important to remember -- we are all going to always have differences of opinion where the issues of faith are concerned. the real issue here is about the law and equal treatment under the law. i am never going to change anyone's mind about their faith and neither should i try. and neither should they try to change my mind about my faith. what really matters is the law. that is all this is about. that is equal treatment under the law. no one -- the equality act requires no church to do anything under the equality act. the equality act really is about equal treatment under the law. and we should stay in that lane. >> if i might, you also spoke about your own experiences and your views as the mother of a transgender child, something we also heard from the
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congresswoman from illinois, congresswoman newman. for those of us on the committee who are parents, what would you urge us to think about as we weigh this bill in the past -- and the path forward? dr. guffey: i would ask you to consider how you would like your own child to be treated. if it were your child, how would you like your child to be treated? period. what would you want for your child, because that is the bottom line? it is not a choice. this is how god has created your child, and how would you like them to be treated? equal treatment under the law, that is what it is about. sen. coons: thank you, and
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briefly mr. david, could you speak to the question of whether the equality act will compel faith communities to do anything specifically against their doctrine or practice or beliefs and how they conduct themselves in houses of worship and then i will hand this off to the next republican questioner. >> thank you. the answer to your question is no. religious-based institutions will not to be required to change their faith or their practices. there was a question or reference made to the religious freedom and restoration act. the equality act does not get rid of the restoration and religious freedom act, but it restores the religious freedom and restoration act to its original intent, it was not to be used as a sword to impose religious beliefs on others. instead, as a shield against discrimination. the equality act simply
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clarifies. it does not alter or amend the standard in any way in any type of claim. when it was passed, the debate was on how to protect minority religious practices, including ensuring that native americans could engage in traditional religious practices, jewish children could wear yarmulkes in schools, and muslim firefighters could wear beards. nothing in the equality act changes that. we know courts have long rejected religious claims as a reason to deny civil rights protections, including those based on race and sex, and the same analysis would apply here. it is important that we focus on the facts, and the equality act does not do what our opponents are claiming it to do. you can look at the text and it will be very clear that it simply clarifies what the religious freedom and restoration act was intended to do. sen. coons: thank you for your
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testimony. senator cotton. sen. cotton: the democrats are calling this bill the equality act. let's look more carefully at what this kind of equality would be. across america, you will find millions of people who have dedicated their lives to caring for the most vulnerable americans. foster kids who are orphaned or have never known their parents, sheltering women who have been badly abused, making children with down syndrome smile and know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. you may not know the names of these americans because they do not seek out the spotlight and they do not have slick publicist s or glossy profiles written in liberal media. but these extraordinary americans pour out time and energy every day in charities, clinics, and schools, whether out of simple kindness or deep religious faith. 40% of the top 50 charities in
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the united states are faith-based, and religious institutions provide more than $1 trillion in societal benefits every year. if this bill passes, a bureaucrat in washington, however, may show up at their doorstep one day, or an official looking letter may arrive, asking whether the charity acts in accordance with beliefs about gender identity that were totally and completely novel until yesterday. and they will become mandatory even if they are deeply unpopular with the american people. if these citizens refuse, whether out of faith or common sense, or both, they will be punished. religious schools will be cut off from federal aid. their battered women's shelters will be sued for supposedly discrimination for refusing to admit men.
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millions of americans will be treated as second-class citizens and threatened with lawsuits simply for believing that men are men and women are women. that is the heart of this so-called equality act. most americans believe this is wrongheaded, even if they are too scared to say it for fear of being kicked off of social media. or losing their job, or losing their spot in school. but i am not scared to say it and i will say it for them. i am glad that we have a few of them here today to say it as well. let me ask you, if the equality act were to become law, with a -- would it predictably shutter or punish thousands of charities, clinics, community services, and schools across the country? >> yes. sen. cotton: how exactly would it do that?
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>> any organization or school that did not accept, that held to a biological view base of sex as a part of its religious belief would be in the crosshairs of this new antidiscrimination law. sen. cotton: thank you. ms. hasson, would the equality act shutter or punish thousands of these charities, institutions, schools and other well-meaning americans who are trying to help their fellow citizens? ms. hasson: absolutely. and the core of this is the refusal to recognize the difference between biological sex. any religious house of worship or faith-based charity that abides by restrictions based on biological sex, for example, if
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you have a jewish charitable outreach that separates men and women, it will be subject to a discrimination lawsuit because they are going to be risking violation of that provision protecting gender identity. it is not true to say that people of faith don't lose anything. we lose everything. this prevents the religious freedom and restoration act from being available to us. it is a complete, radical, radical change in the rights of religious americans. sen. cotton: thank you. let me ask one final topic in closing just to make this concrete. ms. shrirer, do you know who holds the women's world record in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes? >> i believe it is allison felix? sen. cotton: the late great florence griffith joyner. one of the most exciting,
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dynamic, amazing athletes i have seen in my lifetime. i can remember when she set those records. the fastest woman to ever run in recorded history. no woman has ever run faster than flojo. you know who has run faster? 76 high school boys in america in 2019 alone. high school boys, not grown men, and just in america, not all around the world. is it really fair to allow biological men to compete against women in sports, when 76 high school boys can run faster than the fastest woman in the history of the world? >> no, it would end women's sports. sen. cotton: thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join in expressing my appreciation to you for this historic hearing.
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what a wonderfully appropriate way to begin your tenure, mr. chairman, with the equality act. we have heard a lot of misinformed criticism from my colleagues on the other of the aisle. one of the often repeated criticisms is that it is misnamed. no name could be more appropriate for this measure then the equality act, and no measure better deserves this name, the equality act. the truth is straightforward. the equality act would very simply protect the lgbtq+ americans in all 50 states from discrimination. it would ensure that everyone is free to go about their daily lives, to go to the store, to shop online, to take a bus ride, to find a home, to get health
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care without the fear of harassment or discrimination. this issue should not be partisan. it is truly an american cause. in 1991, connecticut became one of the first states to pass a law protecting persons from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. connecticut expanded this protection to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in 2011. i am deeply proud to be from a state that respects equality and honors that respect with action. danielle and jennifer houndshell were both from connecticut, and later fell in love and got married. when they moved to bristol,
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tennessee to be closer to extended family, danielle, jennifer, and their daughters became vulnerable to discrimination in public places like restaurants, shops, and doctors offices. after 18 months in tennessee , where they experienced levels of repugnant discrimination at work, in daily life, and elsewhere, they decided to move. danielle and jennifer support the equality act because, in their words, "no one should have to worry about whether they will experience discrimination when choosing a new home or deciding where to relocate a family." in many ways, we have made progress in the fight against discrimination, against lgbt americans. connecticut is now one of 22 states to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
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under current law, many americans do not enjoy those same protections. 28 states do not have such a law on the books protecting lgtbq discrimination. the lack of nationwide protection leaves americans like danielle and jennifer uncertain about their rights, in limbo depending on where they choose to live and when they travel, including people in connecticut to travel to other states and are subject to discrimination. we are one nation and the people of connecticut deserve that protection wherever they go, traveling, moving, and enjoying the privileges of our constitution and rights. the equality act would codify and strengthen the progress that
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we have made already in states like connecticut and the courts. a lot of the arguments made against it are based on misinformation or deliberate distortion. i am proud to support this act, and i would like to ask mr. david, can you describe the ways in which the patchwork of state laws impacts the experience of lgbtq americans? mr. david: thank you for the question. the patchwork of laws that exists in this country make it very difficult for lgbtq people to thrive. if i obtain a job in one part of the states but have to move to another part of the country, i may lose some protections, and there is some states that have
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ordinances that protect lgtbq people, but other parts of the state, they do not have that protection. it is simply not fair. it goes to the point that i was making before, providing these protections to lgbtq in some way will result in the sky falling and compromise women's rights, is not true, because if it was true, we would see it already in the states that have had non-determination laws on the books for decades. i mentioned illinois and i mentioned other states that have had these on the books for years and we have not seen the reality. the reality that we are seeing is that two thirds of lgbtq people face discrimination. the reality we are seeing is that 44 transgender women have been killed in this country. that is the reality that we are trying to address and we know we can address those concerns with the quality act.
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we are only trying to make sure that we are being treated equally under the law. all of the claims about -- i know you are not asking this question specifically, but i think it is worth highlighting this concern about sports. the equality act does not force anyone to do anything other than not to discriminate. the legislation does not create some new reality but allows transgender students to not be discriminated against in sports. one final point -- 20 states, the ncaa, and even the international olympic committee already allows transgender athletes to participate and have for years. sen. blumenthal: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> similarly -- senator lee? sen. lee: thank you, mr. chairman. under this legislation, it appears that churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious buildings would likely be considered public accommodations.
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particularly, if they are also opened up from time to time to the public for any reason, including for use as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, but for that matter, any public gathering can render any building a place of public accommodation. the language is rather significantly broad and would almost inevitably put this law in a position of occupying a more significant place with respect to religious institutions. ms. hasson, does the act exempts churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, or any houses of worship from being considered public accommodation? ms. hasson: no, to the contrary. what this does is it expands the
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definition of public accommodations from the four categories that were previously in civil rights law, to an almost unlimited number of activities and places that don't need to be actual physical places, so it includes virtual activities. it is very easy for a church that does anything where it opens the doors to the community, which is very much a part of a faith-based mission, it opens the doors for them to be subject to discrimination because they are going to now be considered a public accommodation in the same way a stadium or something like that, so that is one of the most damaging and threatening aspects of those particular acts. sen. lee: church, synagogue, a mosque, a place of worship is now treated under this bill if it became law, the same way it would be if it were a restaurant or hotel or stadium. what about the connected offices, offices that provide
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some sort of services, including for use as soup kitchens or shelters. wouldn't they also be considered public accommodations at that point? ms. hasson: all of those things would be under this broad sweep of public accommodations. sen. lee: let's suppose, for example, you have a mosque or synagogue that happens to rely on federal grants to help bolster security against threats based on religion or ethnicity, or both. by virtue of excepting those -- of accepting those grants, would the mosque or synagogue potentially, become subject to penalties under this act? ms. hasson: yes, because they will be opening themselves up to being within the parameters of the equality act if they are
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accepting federal benefits, or if they are acting as a public accommodation under this expansive definition. the key is if they are acting in that way, they do not have, under the equality act, they do not have recourse to the religious freedom and restoration act as a defense for that. it is expanding their potential liability and vulnerability, and at the same time, pulling away what has been tremendously important statute for religious freedom. sen. lee: this is interesting and troubling. especially when you add to it the fact that there was some religious traditions, with a lot of followers in this country, including orthodox jewish services and many muslim services. where people sit in different places based on sex, during religious services.
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so would a muslim or orthodox jewish congregation continue to do that as they have for in some cases, thousands of years -- would that become unlawful if they are places of public accommodation and if you cannot treat people differently based on their sex, what would remain of those religious denominations 's ability to continue to worship as they deem fit? ms. hasson: they would be wearing a straitjacket. they could not live and carry out their faith, even within their own buildings under this act. sen. lee: we have heard it over and over again, that this law is not designed to force religious organizations to change their practices, to change the way they worship. but if what you are telling me is true, those arguments are not right, are they? they are very wrong, aren't they? ms. hasson: it is very deceptive, actually.
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sure, it does not change what we believe. but to be a person of faith, is to live that out, to carry it out in action. if you believe there should be separation of the sexes, as in judaism or islam, you need to be able to function like that in all of the activities you are doing. this equality act is going to redefine what you are doing, and even if it opens yourself up as a public accommodation and then imposes on you these obligations to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and then at the same time, strips your recourse for the religious freedom and restoration act, and puts the thumb on the scale with your ability to cite the first amendment by putting in the act that this is a compelling state ment any claim under the , authority is a compelling state interest as opposed to the
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alternative. sen. lee: religious freedom and restoration act is not a get out of jail free card. it does not give every religious institution or person a free pass. it simply forces the government to conduct a certain test, a certain standard review, is that right? ms. hasson: yes, and that is an important consideration. as justice gorsuch referred to, what rifa does is it says that we now have to look at this more seriously. there is a burden, but is there compelling justification? the equality act takes that delicate balancing off the table and says, we already decided that this is unacceptable conduct. it flies in the face of both the one decision, which referenced
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rifa as a super statute, and ties the hands of religious believers and says, you are not welcome to live your faith in the public square. sen. lee: thank you, very much. >> thank you. senator booker by remote. senator booker, do you read me? we are going to senator padilla. sen. padilla: thank you. a recent gallup poll found that support for lgbtq rights has surged since the passage of the civil rights act of 1964. even with this record support by
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the american people, members of the lgbtq community continue to face unnecessary barriers and obstacles. our country is currently dealing with the combined effects of the covid-19 pandemic and a fight for equity and justice across the board. often ignored, lgbtq individuals who also come from minority communities face unique challenges of combating multiple forms of discrimination at once. i have a question for dr. guffey. in your written testimony, you mentioned that your child, brian, lived a conflictual reality as a youth. could you discuss any unique challenges that brian has faced being both black and gay? that is my first question. dr. guffey: thank you for that question.
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i think anyone that has multiple identity deals with the intersection of them. it is like a layered effect. you can never separate them. you deal with them all the time. it is like a double, i don't want to say burden, it is like a double discrimination. so while some folks may say we have come to a place where we understand and are dealing with issues of race, but the trans thing, we cannot accept that.
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like mr. david said, he can walk in and have some rights as a black person, but as a gay person or trans person, that is a different story. there is still in place that conflict of what rights do you have when. that is what i would say. still having to deal with both realities, and two conflict in -- two conflicting rights, still not equal, still discrimination in this country. the equality act would be another step forward, and an important step forward for
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this country, and for brian. sen. padilla: thank you. this question is on the topic of freedom of religion and something you touched on in your opening statement. freedom of religion is one of our nation's most sacred and fundamental values. in 1993, the religious freedom and restoration act was passed with bipartisan support and was intended to limit the federal government's ability to substantially burden people's exercise of religion. however, the act's scope has been expanded over time, and the law has been a weaponized to weaken nondiscrimination protection. the proponents falsely claim the equality act will not undermine the religious freedom and restoration act. it actually expands protections
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against discrimination towards religious and racial minorities. additionally, the bill has the support of over 100 religious groups across the country. doctor, in your written testimony, you described how religion was used as a justification for the institution of slavery in our nation's history. slavery sent a message that black people were undeserving of rights and civil liberties. how does that history inform the discourse around lgbtq discrimination today? dr. guffey: i think it is a lesson to be learned. it is the same thing. it is saying that there are certain people that don't
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deserve rights, and to be treated in the same way, based on what we believe, or what some people believe about faith and religion and god, and who is created how. and who is welcomed, and who deserves what. i simply do not believe that that is how god sees us, as children of god. that we are all loved, we are all created as children of god, and are all to be created equally. i have always been kind of amazed how we view giving rights to others means taking rights from others. as if there is a limited amount, when extending grace to one,
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means extending grace to all. i believe we can learn from that history because oppression, we pay a cost for that. i believe that slavery has taught us that. the price for what happens to people, when you don't welcome them and accept them as who they are, the internal price that they pay, and the price we pay as society is simply too great. the demeaning of people, eventually, we pay for that and not allowing them and affirming them in their fullness of their creation by god. and using the church and using religion to justify that, that is not religious freedom. that is using religion in a way that it was never intended to be
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used. at least that is what i believe. and i believe that is true for all of the other faith-based communities that support the equality act. they do not see religion as a reason to be weaponized against people, and that is why they support it, as i do. sen. padilla: thank you. >> we will do senator hawley on the republican side, and then after a democrat, senator graham. sen. hawley: thank you to all of the witnesses for being here. ms. shirer, i want to start with you. you have written at some length at the effect of this act, the potential for this act to support the opportunity for sports and women's sports with women competing at the olympic level and you interviewed recently olympic track and field coach linda blade and you asked her what this would mean for
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girl and women's sports, and i am quoting, "finished, done." that is what she said. "the leadership skills, all of the advances of women's rights, that is going to be diminished." tell us about that. why is it women's sports and women's opportunities in athletics, the opportunities of young girls to compete will be so severely impacted by this law? ms. shirer: sure. the great american sprinter, allyson felix, ran the 400 meter in 49.26 seconds. in 2018, nearly 300 high school boys could beat her. that means america would never know the name allyson felix. the majority of american female ceos who believe that their athletic experience gave them
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the strength and encouragement and the standard of excellence they brought into their later life that began in athletics, they would never have that. we can go across sports. venus and serena williams in their prime, it was 1998, challenged anyone outside of the top 200 male tennis players to a game, and number 203 in the world beat them 6-1 and 6-2. we would never know the names of venus and serena. none of the girls below them, either. sen. hawley: you say in your recent writing that parents of teenage girls are generally uninterested in watching their daughters demoralized by the blatant unfairness of a rigged competition. rigged is a strong word, why would the composition be rigged for young girls because of these
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changes? ms. shirer: because the biological changes that occur in male puberty are vast. vastly greater upper body strength, lower body strength, far more fast twitch muscle fiber, larger hearts, more oxygenated blood, all that give them a massive and permanent advantage in strength and speed. sen. hawley: let me give you a chance to respond to advocates of this law, and i think mr. david said just a few minutes ago that the equality act would not create a new reality for women's sports and that things would remain as they are. what is your take on that? if he is wrong, why is he wrong? ms. shirer: my take is that all of the questions seem to suppose girls can take it, they can give up a few trophies, they can handle the risk. except, it is only one group
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that is asked to bear this risk. it is always women and girls. no boys will suffer because biological girls entered their sports, but girls will lose material opportunities. sen. hawley: in other words, the risk and harm falls disproportionately on women and disproportionately on younger girls who are just entering sports, who are trying to get the experience, trying to get the leadership opportunities, they are the ones that would be disproportionately harmed, that is what you are saying. ms. shirer: correct. sen. hawley: in the few minutes i have remaining, let me ask you about the effects of this law for religious institutions which some of my colleagues have pointed out. i was interested to hear a colleague on mine on the democratic side say just a moment ago that this law makes no changes to the religious freedom and restoration act, and has no effect on rfra, does not repeal rfra. maybe i cannot read the text. my understanding is that there
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is an explicit carve out and rfra does not apply any longer under the equality act to any behavior, any of the regulations, anything covered by the act. i am aware of no other law that seeks to shred rfra in this way, and the effect of it is that churches, religious ministries, christian colleges and universities -- they will be unable to pursue their missions, particularly if they involve service to the poor and the needy. tell us about the significance of what this bill does as it comes to completely upending decades of religious liberty protections of all kinds. ms. shirer: there was a little bit of -- the language used that this does not change rfra, what it is true, it is not amending rfra. what it is doing is saying that you cannot use it, you cannot have recourse to it.
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the equality act explicitly expressly advocates the use of rfra with regard not just to title vii, but title ii, title vi -- the entire chapter. this has huge ramifications. i don't know if it is disingenuous, to say it is not changing rfra, but you cannot use it for anything where this law is being applied. sen. hawley: i want to end by just noting that reverend matthew harrison, the president of the lutheran church senate based in my state has written that this bill puts an ultimatum to individuals, religious nonprofits, food banks, adoption agencies, and others, change your faith-based practices or face government punishment. and i've heard the same from the missouri baptist convention and other denominations across my state. this is a radical attack on
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religious freedom, and i think it is something we have to be clear about. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. graham, i apologize, i have an informed that mr. booker is joining us virtually. you will be after mr. booker. sen. booker: so using religion as a shield is something that has been done for many years, a shield for discrimination. i believe in freedom of religion. i believe in free exercise. i believe in the fundamentals that our country was founded upon, but i also know that for too long, religion is used to discriminate, it has been a painful part of the story of america. i really want to turn the -- turn to the panelists to help me to spell this out.
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we still live in a nation -- and i would think we would join together as a senate in a bipartisan fashion to say it is wrong to deny somebody the ability to serve on a jury just because they are lgbtq. it is wrong to deny someone a seat at a lunch counter just because they are lgbtq. this is something that we should all be working to end. we have seen this phenomenon of religion being used to justify slavery, segregation, bans on interracial marriage. as recently as 1983, bob jones university argued before the supreme court that its racial discriminatory marriage and dating policies were protected by the free exercise clause of the first amendment. we know this history. jefferson davis said that slavery was established by
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almighty god and sanctioned in the bible in both testaments from genesis to revelation. even after slavery was abolished, we heard these religious freedom arguments. theodore billbeaux, a two-time governor in mississippi, used religion to justify racism and discrimination, he wrote that allowing the blood of races to mix was an attack on god. a century ago, in georgia, a man said that god made them negros and we cannot buy education make them white folks. segregated schools, 1960, mississippi governor ross barnett proclaimed that the good lord was the original segregationist. in 1960 three, president harry truman, when asked whether he believed if segregation would lead to interracial marriage responded by saying, i hope not. i don't believe in it.
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the lord created it that way, you read your bible and you will find out. i do not understand that in this nation that believes in our faith traditions, that believe -- literally in our founding documents, all people are created equal, that we still have a nation that tolerates with the majority of our states overt discrimination, no recourse whatsoever to be denied a seat at a lunch counter, to be denied public accommodation, to be denied service on a jury. mr. david, there is a lot of vectors i hear of attack on this legislation. would you reiterate for me why this is so important that we don't mistake the valued and bonded -- and vaunted
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principle of religious freedom that i believe fully and to be in any way a disguise for overt discrimination against the equality of all americans? mr. david: thank you for that question. this legislation is important for reasons that we have now addressed a few times. this is about tonya and rachel in colorado looking for a new home in their new family. they find the perfect home and then after touring the perfect home, the landlord emailed them and said they could not rent to them because the couple had a "unique relationship." this is about our client that has cancer and is transgender and is going to medical providers about health and assistance, only to face discrimination as a part of her transgender status. that is what this legislation is about. the equality act does not create any new obligations or change how houses of worship defined their own religious beliefs, how
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they are organized, or how they determine membership. they can continue to serve their congregation and limit who attends when they are providing fellowship or religious studies. to your point, we have known for years that religious belief does not excuse restaurants or hotels from following civil rights laws that were passed in the 1960's, and they still cannot deny civil rights for black and brown people in this country. but they can for lgbtq. we have to think about how religion has been used historically to oppress marginalized communities as you said, from colonization to slavery to interracial relationships to now lgbtq families. we have to make sure that if we are going to advance our democracy in a way that works for all of us, we need to make sure that all of us are indeed, protected. sen. booker: i yield back, and i just want to say for the record,
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stella, you are amazing, you are a light in this world. i thank god for you and i celebrate and cherish your leadership. i look forward potentially for you and i being colleagues in the united states senate. >> thank you. mr. graham. sen. graham: i want to pick up where mr. david left off. let's start off with ms. hasson. under this legislation, would it be possible for the catholic church to be sued because it limits the priesthood only to men? ms. hasson: conceivably, because if you are defining it -- can you hear me? sen. graham: yes. ms. hasson: once you open up as the equality act does, you redefine what is public accommodation, and anything the church is doing is opened to the public, you will have discrimination claims brought
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sen. graham: if you had a worship hall and you rented it to the public, would that be enough? ms. hasson: absolutely. sen. graham: orthodox seminaries in the jewish faith, orthodox seminaries, i think that men and women worship separately when it comes to the service, could that be affected? ms. hasson: sure. what this does is it broadens the scope of public accommodation so that churches, houses of worship, social service activities, all the places where religious people carry out their faith, all of the sudden will be thrust under the rubrics of this act which means they will be subject to endless litigation. that is a problem because the act also specifically says -- sen. graham: if you are a
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catholic association and you participate in a sports league that is public, and you have a team from your church, would that trigger a lawsuit? ms. hasson: sure. that is already problematic, because many catholic schools, like other faith-based schools , wanted to have single-sex sports, they want to respect their privacy, so they are running into problems when they are expected to adhere to this gender identity ideology. sen. graham: how would this affect an all-girls catholic school that participates in a sporting league? ms. hasson: they are going to be subject to lawsuits. what is happening here is that this is an attempt to compel religious organizations, if they are going to be in the public square, and religious people, to change their beliefs. sen. graham: i got it.
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i got it. i got it. mr. david, what would you say to the question, does this legislation open up the catholic church to lawsuits based on the fact that they do not allow women to be priest in any fashion? mr. david: i would say in response to that question, we have a very old amendment called the first amendment, and that amendment protects religious institutions from being preferred or discriminated against in statutes. this is not new. sen. graham: there is nothing in the first amendment that says that. it says every person will be allowed free exercise of their religion and it says the government will not establish. it does not say anything about whether or not the government can say that if a religious institution participates in a sporting league, they are protected no matter what.
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mr. david: i understand the question, but i do not think we need to speculate. we have states with these laws on the books since the 1970's, and we are not seeing these problems. i understand the suggestion but it is not true. sen. graham: would you be willing to make it clear in this law? mr. david: we are more than willing to engage with any of the senators to talk about the law and whether clarification is needed. i don't know that we need clarification on this issue, i am happy to engage further to discuss this with you and others. sen. graham: when it comes to sporting events, let's say you have a religious organization participating in secular sporting events, is that enough to require that religious organization to accept someone of a biological, a boy playing
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girls sports? mr. david: this law does not change how religious institutions function. only if those religious institutions open up places of public accommodation. for example, if a church, synagogue, or mosque decided to open up a restaurant, we all know that that restaurants could not deny services to someone of a different faith. that is what this law would do. simply reassert existing law. it does not change the law. sen. graham: i will be very quick, if you as a religious institution participated in secular activities whether it be renting out a facility that you own, or having a sporting association or maybe having a school, what would happen to you? mr. david: engaging in secular activities in and of itself does not make you a place of public accommodation. what makes you a place of public
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accommodation is whether or not you are open to the public, whether or not you are providing goods and services to the public. if you decided to engage in secular activities but limited those activities to those of your faith without opening to the public, that is very different. and that is existing law. sen. graham: thank you. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much, mr. chair. thank you to our witnesses. it was not long ago that a person could be prosecuted for being gay. it was not long ago that don't ask, don't tell was the law of the land, and it was not long ago that states were permitted to deny lgbtq couples the right to marry. we have made great progress, miles of progress, but we still have miles to go as this hearing has pointed out. my first question is of you mr. david, i want to thank you for mentioning minnesota civil rights act.
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we have been ahead of the curve when it came to these issues for a long, long time. i think it has been a good thing. because we have been able to have one of the most thriving economies in terms of recruiting people to work at companies. we have one of the highest per capita numbers for fortune 500 companies, and i think it has been incredibly a good thing that we have so many citizens in our state -- i was listening to some of the other questions, specifically senator cotton's question, so many people of faith that support equality under the law. i want to ask you a series of questions. are there still places in the united states where an lgbtq person can be denied a home because of who they are? mr. david: yes. sen. klobuchar: are there places
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where an lgbtq person can be denied alone because of who they are? mr. david: yes. sen. klobuchar: other still places in the u.s. where an lgbtq person can be denied health care because of who they are? mr. david: yes, there are areas that there are not a state law to prevent their discrimination in health care. sen. klobuchar: how have gaps in federal protection contributed to systemic inequality experienced by members of that community? mr. david: we have areas not protected by federal law. for example, jury service. as a gay man, i could be dismissed and would have no protection under federal law. the same if i were to get into a transportation hub. i would have no recourse if i was thrown out of a taxi or car.
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i would have no recourse. if i went into a store to purchase a new pair of jeans or shirt and i faced this criminal as an lgbtq person, i would have no recourse under federal law. this unfortunately israel for lgbtq people. -- unfortunately israel for lgbtq people. sen. klobuchar: the business coalition for the equality act is a group of 388 leading u.s. employers, including companies like 3m and general mills -- i thought it would lead with hometown companies -- as well as delta, nike and target. the coalition has a combined $6.4 trillion in revenue and employs over 13.5 million people in the united states. what is driving this level of support among our largest businesses?
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mr. david: our largest businesses understand that diversity, inclusion and fairness affect the bottom line. they understand that for employees to thrive, they need to be protected. how can employees thrive when they worry about walking home at night because they don't have protections under state law? how can employees thrive when they may not have the protection to get the resources and services they need? those employers understand that diversity, inclusion and fairness and equality actually affect the bottom line. if they have those protections, if those employees are able to live freely and he who they are, they can fry -- they can thrive and that benefits the bottom line for those companies. sen. klobuchar: the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the lgbtq community, especially lgbtq people of color.
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while lgbtq people overall are 30% more likely to have lost their job since the pandemic started, black and latino people who identify as lgbtq, are 70% more likely to have lost your job. why is this, and can you speak to the impact on the community and how the equality act could help mitigate these problems? mr. david: absolutely. we have all been affected by covid-19, all of us. some of us have lost loved ones, others have gotten ill or we know family members who have gotten ill. there is a second reality, and economic reality. some of us have lost our jobs, some of us have taken two jobs to support our families because of lost wages. if you are lgbtq and a person of color, covid-19 hits you disproportionately high. if you happen to be transgender,
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your unemployment rate is almost three times that of the general population. as we think about the equality act and why it is important, we need to make sure all of us have an equal opportunity to contribute and thrive. without these protections, what we are seeing now is unfortunately going to get worse because lgbtq people and people of color, as we know, face the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much and thank you to the witnesses. sen. cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. today's democratic party has gotten steadily more and more radical. they ask americans to see ourselves as victims. but in today's democratic party, there is a hierarchy of victims and some victims trump other victims. this will reflects -- bill
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reflects the radical democrats's war on women. they have made the decision that women are not high enough on the hierarchy of victims and so this bill would, in effect, appeal title ix, which created an incredible revolution of girls and women's sports in colleges and universities and high schools and junior highs throughout the country. this bill is not a discrimination bill. the democrats, when they are talking about this bill, want to frame it as a discrimination bill. they don't want to own the radical aspects of this bill. it is none of government's business what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms. it is none of government's
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business the sexual orientation or gender identity of adults in their own lives. this bill is not about that. this bill is about mandating that biological males should be allowed to compete in girl sports and women's sports, effectively repealing title ix. this bill is about suing pastors and churches if they teach biblical teachings on sexuality and morality. this bill is about suing you, an individual citizen, if you dare speak and disagree with their mandated orthodox. this bill is about power and this bill is dangerous. you know, it is striking in its revealing that when senator grassley asks for an additional witness to be added to this
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panel, kathy mitchell, the democratic majority refused. they did not want the american people to hear from kathy mitchell, to hear about the unfairness of little girls having girls sports destroyed because of the radical policies of today's democrats. in your judgment, what are the risks to young girls and two young women if this bill is passed? >> it will end women's sports and all those girls who dreamed of going out for the team will take a look at the risks and the incredibly long shot of ever succeeding and they will never bother. sen. cruz: tell this committee and tell america how it will end women's sports. as i said that, my friend, chairman derman, glared over --
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chairman durbin, glared over and disagreed and no doubt viewed that as hyperbole. why would this bill end women's sports? >> take this part of olympic debt lifting -- the sport of olympic debt lifting -- dead lifting. the record for the female, the greatest record, is around 600 pounds. you see how many athletes you are limiting. it means that the fastest girl runner never makes it to the olympics. she never makes it to the team. in the state of connecticut, 13 out of 14 championships were taken by high school boys. sen. cruz: that status is amazing. 13 out of 14 titles in girls sports and track were taken by two biological boys, which means
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biological girls, there sports are limited. >> those biological boys who had computed in the past on the boys team had no standout achievements on the boys team. sen. cruz: i have to say as a father of two young girls that girls sports has had a profound impact in their lives. our youngest girl plays a every sunday. i am out on the soft ball field with her at practice. the discipline, teamwork, camaraderie, competitiveness that girls sports teaches is effectively destroyed from this bill. let me ask you, what are the consequences for pastors and churches and individuals expressing either free-speech or religious liberty if this radical bill becomes law? >> one of the problems is that under the equality act, it sends the message that to affirm biological realities, the difference between males and
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females, that that is bigotry, discrimination. there are many religious congregations that hold that as a matter of faith. here we are. that's going to be redefined as something -- to hold that belief is -- sen. cruz: if i say boys are different from girls, i can be sued in the private workplace, just as an individual citizen? >> i think we are opening up that risk. i think we are going to see harassment lawsuits as well because there is a chilling effect. the whole idea is to affirm that biological sex does not matter, that all that matters is self perception. then, we are going to see that coming out as a sword. religious people, people who hold that in good faith, are going to be the ones who are going to suffer the consequences. sen. cruz: thank you. >> go ahead and finish your reply. >> for religious organizations,
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we have heard so much about the effect of the pandemic. it mystifies me why we would want to just incentivize religious organ -- dis-incentivize religious organizations from serving, why we would want to make it more difficult for them to remain true to their beliefs and serve the marginalized and vulnerable. >> thank you very much. >> mr. chair, i think senator kennedy is ahead of me. >> really? >> sadly. >> senator kennedy. >> you are a good man. thank you, mr. chairman. i think gender dysphoria exists, it's real. based on everything i've read, dsm 5, nh, other medical authorities, it's pretty rare,
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about one male birth out of 30,000 has gender dysphoria, about one female birth out of about 100,000. i would consider it to be an immutable characteristic. i don't think any fair-minded person believes that we should discriminate folks -- against folks on the basis of an un-immutable characteristic. i am worried about the practical applications of this bill. would this bill require schools to open up a junior high school women's locker room to a boy who identifies as a girl? >> yes, it would. >> would this bill -- and they would dress together? would it prohibit them from dressing together? >> no.
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>> would this bill prohibit the boy with gender dysphoria from exposing his penis to the girls? >> i'm sorry, would it prohibit that? no. >> would this bill prohibit the bills from exposing their genitalia to the boy who identifies as a girl? >> i don't believe the bill addresses genitalia. >> does it prohibit them from dressing together? >> no. >> would this bill prohibit them from showering together? >> no. >> ok. women's sports, would this bill require all women's sports programs to make biological women compete against biological males with gender dysphoria? >> they would not have to have gender dysphoria.
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anyone who says they are a girl at anytime under this bill, they don't have to be transgender identified, they don't have to -- >> i am getting there, ok. would this bill require women's sports programs to make women compete against men who have gender dysphoria, that identify as a woman? >> yes, anyone who identifies as a woman. >> ok. would the man who identifies as a woman be required to take chemicals to block his masculinity. >> no. >> so he could just show up and say, "i want to compete, i have a -- i am a male but i identify as a female."? >> yes, that's correct. >> who identifies if he is transgender? >> if he says he is a woman,
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he's a woman. >> ok. if i am a parent of a transgender child, and i decline to have my child takes sex changing hormones or chemicals or undergo sex change surgery, how would this bill impact my rights as a parent? >> i don't know how it would necessarily will but it would seem that it would make it harder for parents to exercise their own judgment whenever a child says they have gender dysphoria. i think that there will be more danger of coming under
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pressure and the possibility of losing custody. >> ok. mr. david, let me ask you a question. how many sexes do you think there are? >> how many sexes? >> how many genders? >> there is a difference between sex and gender identity. >> i am asking biological sexes, how many do you think there are? >> i would differ to the medical practitioners. i think there has been studies showing that if you're talking about sex, sex is defined about many different characteristics. >> are there more than two? >> you could make that argument. >> are you making that argument? but are you making it? >> i cannot ignore the fact that there are individuals who are intersex. >> are there more than two sexes, in your opinion? >> it's not limited to two. >> that's all i've got, mr.
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chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i had to move up here to get a seat. i was a member without a seat a while earlier. i moved it down in the order after we reconstituted this congress. sorry for the confusion. >> honesty is rewarded. you are the last senator to ask. >> i want to thank you for having this hearing. i think it's a very important and very sensitive issue. and i also respect the way that the majority of the members have asked i think important questions, respectful on both sides of the aisle. on the one hand, we have the fact that even in 2021, our lgbtq friends, families, neighbors still face discrimination from employment to health care to housing two homelessness -- to homelessness. there is a very real problem with discrimination. i think it's wrong in any
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aspect. but on the other hand, we have millions of americans who are people of faith who have serious and legitimate issues of conscience. these americans practice their faith the daily, they love their god, their church, and their community, and they strive to live biblical values. people of faith contribute so much and we have seen so many stories about the very important role that they play. in our constitution and bill of rights, it does protect liberties, and if anything, freedom of religion and free exercise of our faith is the most important and most sacred constitutional right. it's literally the reason why our nation was founded. the challenge for us as legislators is to figure out how we reconcile the desperate and in some cases competing interests. unfortunately, i believe the equality act falls short of the goal. we have heard many of the reasons today, it would deny the religious liberty and freedom of
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millions of americans by forcing churches, religious schools and adoption agencies to violate their sincerely and deeply held religious beliefs. that is something i cannot support and it is something i would never support. but i am open to finding a compromise on this issue. i want to find a compromise, one that prevents discrimination against anybody in the lgbtq community, any american, but i also want to protect americans of faith. chairman durbin, and i will ask senator grassley the same thing, i hope that we can work together and make progress, because there is a real challenge here. but i feel like even in this hearing, although the questions were insightful, sometimes we were talking past one another. she may have used the word disingenuous. i think that was an appropriate word. i am not an attorney but i am a
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and if you read the plain text of the bill, you know that's what it has the consequence. i want to compliment you for being the only person who has had to be seated for the entire three hours and 15 minutes. you have given it a lot of insightful answers. i coached youth sports for nearly 10 years when my daughter and son were growing up. t-ball, soccer, baseball, softball. i coached these children from the time that they were about four years old until the time they were about 14 years old. some of these kids have played on the teams when you had boys and girls on the same team, they were competitive. but boy, as winter goes by and those boys get on the field and thank goodness that we have the alternative for female and male softball and little league baseball, in my case. you made a comment that i wanted to go back to. two things and my time.
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number one, i would like to get an idea of what that nuanced solution looks like. i think you are probably alluding to the vast change that occurs after puberty. but also, i want to go back and have you restate something that i think people will exploit the plain letter of this bill. you made a comment about prisoners, male prisoners, who chose to identify as female prisoners. i would like to -- like you to go back and recount that, because that's a real risk that prisoners will exploit but i think people in general society will. so if you can, and i want to ask another question come talk a little bit about what that nuanced solution would look like. but then also, talk about that real risk, should people choose to exploit it if this bill became law. >> the threat is not about
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transgender americans at all, who are not a violent population. the problem with this bill is that it does not require anything for someone who claims to have a fema identity. all they need -- female identity. all they need to do is announce that they are female. there are a a lot of biological men who are a real threat to women's safety. >> a serial rapist in prison could choose to identify as a female and then would be entitled under this law to be transferred to a female population present? >> absolutely. >> could they be treated any differently or would they be in the general population if they are found in the general population in the men's prison? >> in theory, they could. under the equality act, it makes no distinction. anybody who says they are a female would be automatically entitled to transfer. >> tell me just in a few seconds what that nuanced solution may be, particularly in the area of youth sports or
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women's sports, meant sports. >> sure. one solution was to keep girls sports for biological girls and then keep an open category for anyone who chooses. or it is to force the boys team to become more accommodating and welcoming to those with the bodies who identify as transgender. it would not allow any of them. >> if we don't get this right, we could on the one hand make progress but create polarization that would prevent future progress on this issue. thank you for all on this committee. >> thank you very much, senator tillis. i want to just say, with the tone that you set with your question and,, it is one that i hope the committee can follow up on. wouldn't it be refreshing if we had a constructive, nonconfrontational conversation about dealing with our mutual
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concerns? not that we are guaranteed a good result, but at least guaranteed an effort, and opportunity to do it. i thank you for that. i hope we can do that. i would like to thank you, miss , for patiently sitting through this testimony. to our witnesses at home or wherever you are broadcasting from, thank you as well for being part of this. i would like to make a few closing comments, if i can. first, on the concept of high school sports, yes, i was involved in high school sports. but if it was a question of testing foot speed, i would have lost to whoever ran against me, whatever their background, whatever their gender. i wasn't that quick but i still enjoyed high school sports. we know that we have had flaws on the books in states like california, minnesota, maryland, connecticut, florida, washington for years, and they don't find
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the problems that have been reported today. that i think has been a point made over and over again by mr. david and it bears repeating. we are waiting for this avalanche of problems and they are predicted but have not really surfaced. when it comes to sports, i am going to enter a statement into the record here from organizations which back up what i have just said. let me conclude this way. hard to believe it's been that long but 50 years ago, fresh out of law school, i went to work for the illinois state senate and met a woman named phyllis who was leading the charge against the equal rights amendment. i guess the warcry of the day was, don't get in our bathrooms, those men were coming in our bathrooms. that really drove the debate for a long time. the equal rights amendment was never ratified in time by the states.
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i suppose that privacy is a very important element to everybody, as it should be. i hope that we can learn a lesson here that some of the great fears we have, such as equality of marriage, destroying the institution of marriage, six years ago it was decided and my wife and i are still married. on the religious aspect of this, i am going to tread very carefully and lightly just to say i do not believe some of the things that have been suggested as the products of the equality act. i do believe that people who want to blatantly discriminate and use religion as their weapon have gone too far. we have to have limits on what they can do. i might remind us in history that the ku klux klan was not burning question marks, they were burning a cross. they were making some distorted connection with religion.
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and god for bid that anybody would buy that. we don't need that in america, regardless of the time, regardless of the organization or wherever they come down on the political spectrum. i hope that we can come together with conversation that will lead us to a positive conclusion on this matter, because for stella, who has been the star so far, certainly the 16-year-old start of this hearing, and for all those who have testified, i want to say that we have hope. we've got to have hope that america as it has broken down the barriers to race, women voting, broken down the barriers to those who work disabled and broken down the barriers to those for sexual orientation will never stop breaking down those barriers. that is who we are as americans. that is what has defined us. i will be working toward making
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the equality act a vehicle toward that goal. thank you. the meeting stands adjourned. >> the senate returns monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern to continue work on the nomination of polly trottenberg to be deputy transportation secretary. later in the week, they will
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work on more nominations, including deputy secretary of state and the chair of the securities exchange commission care the house returns 7:00 p.m. tuesday and will vote to postpone a cut to all medicare payments until the end of the year. during the week, the house will debate equal pay for women legislation as well as a bill on workplace violence against health care and social services workers. watch live coverage of the house on c-span, the senate on c-span 2, and anytime on c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. c-span's "washington journal" every day. taking your calls live on the air, on the needs of the day and discussing the policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, crime analyst jeff asher on the rise in the nation's murder and violent crime rate in 2020.
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then richard lee talks about his students research on what types of questions are most frequently asked at white house briefings. and arms control association's daryl kimball and hudson institute senior fellow michael pregent on the latest on talks to revive the iran nuclear deal. watch c-span's "washington journal," live at 7:00 eastern. be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more. >> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. at spike light, it is our home, too. we are all facing our greatest challenge. that is when sparklight is doing our part to keep you connected. >>pa

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