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Wagner Statement on the Equality Act

May 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the following statement on the Equality Act:

“I believe all Americans should be able to live free from discrimination. Our communities are strongest when we treat others as we would like to be treated. Unfortunately, the Equality Act has serious flaws that run counter to the First Amendment rights that our nation holds sacred. The legislation prevents people of faith from exercising their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

“I submitted a good-faith amendment that would clarify that the Equality Act would not force people to abdicate their First Amendment rights, including the freedom of religion, right of conscience, and freedom of speech, but Democrats rejected it and would not even let the House debate it.

“I am also concerned that the Equality Act would create unintended consequences for women and girls. The bill would allow men to compete in women-only sports, endangering sex-specific sports teams that give women access to athletic programming. Missouri women fought for Title IX rights for decades and girls across my district have greatly benefited from these protections since 1972. The Equality Act would roll back Title IX provisions that have promoted women’s equality in extracurricular activities and take away essential scholarship and professional opportunities for women and girls.

“The legislation also threatens spaces where women enjoy privacy and feel safe from men, ranging from locker rooms to domestic violence shelters. After speaking with many experts on violence against women, I believe shelters need to have flexibility to decide how best to accommodate the survivors they care for. There are many ways to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but the Equality Act imposes a federal, one-size-fits-all mandate that would overrun local and state accommodations and reverse hard-won women’s rights.”