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Right-Wingers Are Going Ballistic Over the Equality Act

Glenn Beck and Mat Staver
From left: Glenn Beck and Mat Staver

Liberty Counsel claims the Equality Act threatens religious freedom, while Glenn Beck says a Trump defeat in 2020 means the downfall of America.


If it's a day ending in y, it's to be expected that right-wingers are making apocalyptic predictions.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel sent out a press release on Tuesday warning that the Equality Act, recently introduced in Congress, is a threat to the freedom of religion. And Glenn Beck, in a Monday interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, said that if Donald Trump is not reelected as president in 2020, it will mark "the end of the country as we know it."

The historic legislation, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and several other areas, "threatens the free exercise of religion and free speech," according to Staver's alarmist press release. It would do nothing of the kind, but that doesn't stop Staver from making dire predictions.

"Church leadership and nonprofit faith-based organizations and schools would be forced to hire gender-confused individuals and allow men access to female (or vice versa) restrooms, showers, locker rooms, dressing rooms, shelters, dormitories and sports," the release reads. "This legislation would also create many more victims -- like women in shelters who have been sexually assaulted by a man posing as a 'transgender' to gain access to the facility." Never mind that protecting the rights of trans people does not increase the risk of sexual assault, and that any such assault would remain a crime.

"Churches that provide weddings or baby showers would be forced to provide the same facilities to LGBT events and 'same-sex weddings,'" the missive continues. In reality, churches would remain free to limit rentals of their property to members, and clergy members would not be required to participate in any ceremonies that go against their beliefs.

It also claims "property owners would be forced to accept renters whose actions violate their religious beliefs," but in reality the legislation keeps the Fair Housing Act's exemptions for owner-occupied rental housing that has four or fewer units and for individual roommate arrangements.

"This bill also gags counselors from giving professional help to those minors and adults facing unwanted same-sex desires or actions," the release goes on. "It even punishes counselors who share their own story of finding freedom in Christ from homosexuality. This bill literally sets the stage for setting up the Bible as prohibited material where it addresses homosexuality." The Equality Act does denounce "conversion therapy" as a form of discrimination, but it does not seek to regulate it or punish counselors. (Several states have passed laws barring licensed therapists from subjecting minors to the practice.) And prohibiting the Bible -- well, no.

Beck, a former Fox News host who now heads Blaze Media, didn't address LGBTQ issues or the Equality Act in his appearance on Hannity's eponymous show, but he said the nation faces a threat from "socialists," which has become one of the far right's favorite buzzwords, using it for proponents of environmental legislation, universal health care, and more.

Beck said he had previously predicted that opponents of conservatism would band together for evil purposes. "I said what was coming and the last few steps were that the radicals, the anarchists, the Islamists, the socialists would all gather together, they would not be working together, plotting together, but they would see the opportunity and they would all come together and work to destabilize Europe and America," he said. "And that is exactly what is happening." He also accused Democrats of supporting infanticide and having a "cult of death" that shuts down anyone who disagrees.

"If the Republicans don't win in this next election, I think we are officially at the end of the country as we know it," he added. "We may not survive even if we win, but we definitely don't if the Republicans lose with Donald Trump."

Beck had once criticized Trump but has come to support him. "There is no choice this time," he said.

Watch the segment below.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.
Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.