House Bill 300 passed narrowly, 102-98, in a May 2 vote after two Republican lawmakers voted with the Democrats. The bill faces a more uncertain fate in the Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 28 to 22, but some of the GOP lawmakers could vote for it like their House colleagues did.
The bill will be signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro if it is approved by state senators in coming days.
Alexis Sneller of the Pennsylvania Family Council tells AFN the misnamed Fairness Act would repeat what has happened in other states, where men who say they are women are given legally-protected rights that trample the rights of women and girls.
“It would destroy fairness to women's sports and force women to compete against biological men,” she warns. “It opens up women's shelters to men and then it also punishes people for their deeply held religious convictions.”
New law would promote 'good will'
After passage in the House, co-sponsor Rep. Malcom Kenyatta called it a “historic day” because the state has taken a “critical step to make Pennsylvania fairer.”
Many, many others disagree with the state rep over what is “fair” considering the unfairness that happened in his own state at the University of Pennsylvania. Not only did 6-foot-tall senior swimmer Will Thomas outswim his female teammates, who were threatened with punishment if they complained publicly, but female University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines (pictured above) has accused Thomas of exposing himself in front of female swimmers in a women’s locker room.
A male exposing himself like that “would have been considered some form of sexual assault, voyeurism,” Gaines told Fox News in a February story, “but now not even are they just allowing it to happen, it’s almost as if these large organizations are encouraging it to happen.”
If the Fair Act becomes law, not only would it allow a male such as Thomas to appear nude in front of women but it delegates more power and authority to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to foster “good will” and to “minimize or eliminate discrimination” in the state, according to the bill's text.
'Lip service' for the First Amendment
A second section of the bill's text addresses "Protection of Religious Exercise" in the state.
For this story, that section was reviewed by attorney Abraham Hamilton III, general counsel for the Mississippi-based American Family Association. He said it was telling the bill's authors used a legal term known as a strict scrutiny standard to assure Pennsylvanians the legislature is respecting the U.S. Constitution. They even put those words in all caps, he points out, as if that would impress a future court in a lawsuit because the legislation, on paper, recognizes the Free Exercise clause in the U.S. Constitution.
In reality, the AFA attorney suspects, the lawmakers are "trying to cover themselves" in that portion in the bill and the all-caps declaration is the giveaway.
"It is lip service, period," he says of the bill's "Religious Exercise" section.
Despite the fact the Fair Act targets women and religious beliefs, Sneller says House lawmakers “disregarded” those facts and voted for “gender ideology” instead.
“So it really is dangerous for Pennsylvanians,” she warns.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.