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(Jon Schweppe) – It’s been a tough year for the radical LGBT movement:

  • Eight (going on nine) states have passed laws to protect women’s sports.
  • Two states have passed laws protecting minors from experimental puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone “treatments.” (Several more are expected to join next year.)
  • Only three House Republicans voted for the “Equality” Act in 2021. Eight supported it in 2019.
  • 49 senators voted for language to protect women’s sports in the American Rescue Plan, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). While the language didn’t become law, the vote was an important barometer check: the Equality Act would need 60 votes in the Senate to become law.

For all intents and purposes, the “Equality” Act is dead this Congress. Republicans are set to take back the House and possibly the Senate in 2022. Joe Biden’s approval numbers are tanking. Republicans are taking on gender ideology like never before — just look at what Glenn Youngkin is doing in Virginia. Things are looking up, right? There’s simply no reason to give an inch on this issue.

But some Republicans love to negotiate against themselves. These folks can always be counted on to hand Democrats a political victory where there was none to be had.

Enter Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah). He has introduced a bill, along with 20 Republican cosponsors, that attempts to merge the principles behind the Equality Act — enshrining sexual orientation and “gender identity” into civil rights law — with a few exceptions for religious institutions. Here’s why Rep. Stewart believes Republicans should snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by supporting the so-called “Fairness for All” Act:

“It is hard to really love our neighbors when we are fighting with them over whose rights are more important. This country can accommodate both civil liberties for LGBT individuals & religious freedom. We have wasted enough time, energy, and money fighting over who deserves which legal protections. It is time to define the federal protections for our LGBT and religious friends and neighbors.”  Rep. Chris Stewart

If this was just a repository bill for Republicans with ties to pro-gender ideology religious sects, fine, whatever. But according to my sources, Stewart isn’t content with the status quo — he is actively courting a Republican to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

‘Grievously unfair’

Earlier this month, we learned a 15-year-old girl in Loudoun County, Virginia had been sexually assaulted in her high school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt. Later, after the incident was covered up and the perpetrator was moved to a different high school, he proceeded to sexually assault another girl. These sexual assaults were a policy choice — they were the direct result of a “gender identity” policy promoted and advanced by Democrats perfectly willing to sacrifice the bodies, minds, and souls of innocent children in order to advance their insane agenda.

We blame the Democrats, and rightfully so. But don’t let these 21 Republicans off the hook. The Fairness for All Act would take the same “gender identity” policy that led to two sexual assaults (and the cover up of those assaults) in Loudoun County, and implement it nationwide.

In preparation for this piece, I contacted Ryan T. Anderson, president at the Ethics & Public Policy Center. “The Fairness for All Act is grievously unfair,” Anderson explained to me. “Its protections for religious liberty are insufficient, and they come at the high price of legally enshrining a misguided sexual and gender ideology — which would license officials to punish citizens who dissent from secular progressive orthodoxy.”

Indeed, while the Fairness for All Act’s primary selling point to conservatives is the protection of religious liberty, it’s hard to imagine that would satisfy conservative voters worried about gender ideology’s impact on society at large. “Religious liberty is an important human right,” Anderson said. “But we must also protect parental rights, women’s privacy and safety, medical professionals’ conscience rights, and the bodies and minds of children. We must refuse to impose a misguided gender ideology on the nation.”

Anderson and the Ethics & Public Policy Center are not alone in opposition to the Fairness for All Act. A number of conservative groups have come out against it, including the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council, Family Policy Alliance, Concerned Women for America, and American Principles Project. And thus far, GOP leadership in the House and Senate has wisely avoided promoting the legislation in any way.

What’s the difference?

So is there a substantive difference between the Fairness for All Act and the Equality Act? Not really. Like the Equality Act, Fairness for All imposes a radical gender ideology on society and fundamentally redefines American life.

Unlike the Equality Act, the Fairness for All Act tries to carve out a few religious liberty exceptions for religious institutions, but it’s hard to get excited about that when they’ve conceded everything else to the radical LGBT movement. The Family Research Council has a great comparison chart resource here.

Here’s a far, far, far from exhaustive list of what the Fairness for All Act would do:

  • Enact a nationwide mandate that schools allow boys in girls’ private spaces. (Needless to say, this would codify what happened in Loudoun County.)
  • Destroy women’s sports.
  • Promote chemical castration for gender-confused children.
  • Allow men in women’s prisons.
  • Allow men in battered women’s shelters.
  • Incriminate free speech for teachers, doctors, and other professionals.

That last part — incriminating free speech for ordinary Americans — would essentially end America as we know it. Check out this excerpt from a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent to Rep. Stewart two years ago:

“The freedom of speech and belief for all Americans, whether in customer-facing services, schools, intimate spaces, or the workplace, could be put at risk by requiring them to publicly speak and act in accord with the “gender identity” of another that they know to be untrue. Ultimately, this may even affect parents’ rights with respect to their own children if state agencies and judges take the signal from the FFA’s foster care provisions that it is best for a child to have a new “gender identity” affirmed immediately, without question or exploration.

Even if FFA were sufficient to avoid creating these and other challenges, the ends (securing the included religious freedom protections) do not justify the means (establishing gender ideology as a basis for a national policy, further undermining the anthropological basis of the family).”

Who supports fairness for all?

Here are the 21 Republican cosponsors for the Fairness for All Act:

  • Rep. Chris Stewart
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger
  • Rep. Andrew Garbarino
  • Rep. Blake Moore
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick
  • Rep. Burgess Owens
  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez
  • Rep. Chris Jacobs
  • Rep. Claudia Tenney
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik
  • Rep. Fred Upton
  • Rep. Jeff Van Drew
  • Rep. John Curtis
  • Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
  • Rep. Mark Amodei
  • Rep. Michael Simpson
  • Rep. Nicole Malliotakis
  • Rep. Steve Stivers
  • Rep. Tom Reed
  • Rep. Nancy Mace

Coalition supporters include: GOP megadonor and LGBT rights activist Paul Singer, the American Unity Fund, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Paul Singer and his coalition want more Republicans to sign on to Fairness for All. They want Republican leadership to endorse it. They want the RNC to add it to the Republican platform. And they want a GOP Senator to dive in and publicly support all of this.

Totally unacceptable

This is the typical Republican loserdom of old, where our supposed defenders in Congress abandon the arena as soon as an opponent arrives. But support for Fairness for All is more than an abandonment. It’s a betrayal.

These congressmen see the Left rushing full-speed to stab us in the front, and their ingenious defense is to preemptively stab us in the back. What better way to own the libs? Well, in addition to being morally wrong, it’s politically idiotic. We are winning the fight. Opposition to the radical enforcement of the new gender ideology has been, and remains, a political winner. Why do this?

What is it, exactly, that the supporters of this bill think they’re achieving? A defense of religion? If that is their goal, this is certainly a funny way of going about it. Anyone who attempts to live out their religious conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman, or that lying to a gender-confused child is both wrong and harmful, will be considered an enemy of the state. It’s no defense of religion to defend the preaching while you criminalize the practice. “Hey, the congregation may be headed to the gulag, but at least the pastor won’t be joining them!”

A church or religious order may be safe, and, in some convoluted, compromised form, church-run camps, hospitals, charities, and adoption agencies might be able to keep their doors open. But what of the Catholic spa-owner, the Mormon psychiatrist, the Muslim baker? Must they be employed directly by an explicitly religious institution in order to live out their faiths?

The “compromise” also completely ignores the non-dogmatic grounds for opposing a radical gender ideology barely old enough to get a driver’s license. It does not require the light of divine revelation to know that men and women exist, that one’s sex is immutable, and that pretending to be who you are not does more harm to your identity than anything this bill purports to fix. But this bill would do nothing to protect those who object on the grounds of reality. They would be required by law to completely submit control over their bodies and minds to the new regime.

The sponsors pretend to have worked out a lasting truce. But is there any reason to believe that the lines they’ve drawn will last? What assurance could anyone have? The fight over gay marriage was just about letting people live their lives, right? No, of course not. Grow up. This is a zero sum game. The Left and Right are fighting over the same field.

It’s an unstable peace for the Right to unilaterally surrender 90% of it and sit in hope that their enemies will be satisfied. A serious contender for the Democratic nomination last primary season already suggested attacking churches directly for refusing to toe the ideological line on SOGI. And the near-unanimous opinion of the Democratic Party, including the current president, is that the religious “protections” — which do not appear in the Equality Act they support — are not necessary. The securities of this compromise exist only in the sponsors’ imagination.

And the cost of their “compromise” is enormous. These Republican sponsors are willing to accept the most horrendous outcomes to avoid their own discomfort. The price of their surrender is the chemical castration of children, the criminalization of truth-telling, the ghettoization of religious practice to explicitly church-affiliated institutions, the destruction of women’s sports, the required admission of men to battered women’s shelters, and more. In return for this, they gain absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, they enforce policies nationwide that foreseeably result in rape, mutilation, and misery.

Sorry, no deal. Republicans should stay away from this one. And for those that don’t, expect political consequences. This isn’t the Grand Old Party anymore. Conservatives are done putting up with controlled opposition losers.

Reprinted with permission from Breaking with Jon Schweppe