Biden referred to the Equality Act as "bipartisan" during his State of the Union address.
Biden: "For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let's finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is simply wrong."
Biden went on to tell younger transgender Americans that he'll always have their back so they can be themselves and reach their "God-given potential."
"It was interesting to see President Biden refer to the Equality Act as a so-called 'bipartisan' piece of legislation," says attorney Greg Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). "That is technically correct but profoundly untrue …. There are zero Republican sponsors of the Equality Act in the Senate – and in fact, not every Democrat in the Senate has agreed to serve as a sponsor of the Equality Act."
The House passed the Equality Act (H.R.5) in February 2021 on a 224-206 vote; 221 Democrats and three Republicans supported the measure.
"Every single other Republican opposed it," Baylor notes. "So, the idea that this is bipartisan is really just hard to take seriously."
According to Baylor, ADF believes that every person ought to be treated with dignity and with respect, but also that laws should protect constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of every citizen, no matter who they are.
"These sort of coercive sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws like the Equality Act are unfair and they undermine freedom," says the attorney. "The Equality Act, if it were passed, would create victims – and therefore we think that President Biden is wrong to renew his call for the Congress to adopt this bill."
ADF is actively involved in cases involving biological female athletes concerned that their Title IX rights are being violated by having to compete against biological males in women's athletics.
"That's one of the problems with the Equality Act," says Baylor. "It would create unfair playing fields for women and girls in athletics and education."
Baylor points to Connecticut where young female runners have been excluded from state championships and opportunities to compete in front of scouts and possibly losing scholarships.
"We've seen it more recently in the Ivy League swimming competitions with Lia Thomas at the University of Pennsylvania," says Baylor. "The Equality Act [is] like so many of these policies adopted at the local level [that] are tremendously unfair to female athletes and … to women who have an understandable desire to have privacy and safety in sex-separated spaces.
"So, yes, of course transgender individuals, people who identify as transgender, ought to be treated with dignity and respect – but we should not do that or pursue that through a law that is so deeply unfair."