Former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell expressed his opposition to the Equality Act on Friday and condemned what he described as the angry nature of the LGBT lobby in Washington, D.C.
Claiming it shows preferential treatment to individual groups and discriminates against religious communities, Grenell warned during an interview with the Washington Examiner that the Equality Act would give “special rights” to some groups.
“We just want to be treated equally,” said Grenell, who became the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet-level position when former President Donald Trump appointed him as acting director of national intelligence in 2020. “And over the years, we’ve migrated into a group of angry leadership in Washington, demanding special rights.”
“And the attack on the religious community is unacceptable,” he added.
Grenell, an outspoken Trump supporter, also said he believes the former president convinced many in the LGBT community to support smaller government and vote Republican. “In this last campaign, we literally doubled the support of gays and lesbians for conservative causes,” he said. “The group Outspoken has done incredible work. They continue to do it. They deserve all of our support. And it’s just a group of young gays and lesbians who are demanding that people think about these issues.”
The Equality Act has stoked heated cultural debate since it passed the House of Representatives on Thursday. Proponents of the legislative package argue it is a necessary amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would protect citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Critics, by contrast, have warned that the legislation would endanger the rights of religious Americans in favor of the LGBT community by putting them in situations that would force them to choose between following the law or obeying their faith.
The Equality Act would usurp the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to which individuals have appealed in cases claiming their religious freedom has been violated.
“The Equality Act explicitly exempts itself from the requirements and protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “This would be unprecedented, as no federal law has ever done so before, and it demonstrates the Equality Act’s radical denial of tolerance to people of faith who do not agree to the government’s view of sexuality as established by the Act.”
The House Freedom Caucus held a press conference about the Equality Act on Thursday, during which Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) delivered a speech summarizing the caucus’ opposition to the bill. Roy said in part:
This body being led by Democrats is trampling the rights of the people in the name of ‘equality,’ in the false name of ‘equality.’ … This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe. We’re not going to do that.
"This is a government using its power to tell us to bow down to the will of a cultural elite in this town who want to tell us what we’re supposed to believe. We’re not going to do that."
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) February 25, 2021