Recently, the Equality Act finally passed, which enhanced the federal protection for LGBTQ+ people by banning discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The House vote was 224-206 and the road to equality for LGBTQ+ has become clearer, but is still a work in progress.
In 2019, the act passed in the House of Representatives but the Senate did not follow through; Trump would have vetoed the bill anyway.
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, Congressional District 15, voted against the Equality Act. This vote raises the people's concern for Stivers' care for the well-being of the people in the state.
Stivers claimed in a 2019 letter, that the freedoms for LGBTQ+ members would sacrifice religious freedoms of other people in the state. This raises concern for Stivers’ ability to separate religion and state.
Separation of religion and state is always executed throughout politics and constantly emphasized. Stivers, however, continues to prioritize religion across the board.
For Stivers to say that the Equality Act would surrender religious freedoms is the definition of a double standard.
Stivers' vote against the act directly correlates with the morals that go against this oppressed group of people.
“Equality for some cannot come at the expense of equality for others.”
Stivers wrote this above line in his letter but it seems to be nothing more than hypocritical, for the Equality Act is not banning religion or telling someone what they can or cannot believe in. The Equality Act is granting the deserved rights to a group of people that have been oppressed for so long.
In said letter, it mentioned that the House Democrats disregarded the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 1993 act claims that the government may not compel religious belief, punish religious expression or impose regulations that favor one religion over another.
However, The Equality Act abolishes the regulations the LGBTQ+ community faces, but Stivers failed to see this and was against it because it went against religious beliefs. Why should the LGBTQ+ community be challenged every day only because a group of people aren’t “satisfied” with who they are?
The LGBTQ+ community is still facing oppression when it comes to simple everyday life, and are punished for who they are and who they love. The double standard is evident. If one can have religious freedom, one can wonder why there is hesitation to other personal freedoms.
These freedoms include having no discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system
This bill is common sense and Stivers' vote and reaction was quickly challenged. The freedom of one group should not directly affect the freedom of another group.
The fight for equality will never end but the Equality Act was a step in the right direction, so the thought of voting against it is simply absurd.
Kayla Bennett is a freshman studying journalism. Please note that the views and ideas of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Kayla? Tweet her @kkayyben.