Rep. Matt Gaetz presented Democrats with a startling possibility if their push to pass the Equality Act is successful.
The Florida Republican called out the illogical problems with the pro-LGBTQ bill being pushed by Democrats, noting that although he is supportive of LGBTQ rights, if the proposed bill is enacted then President Donald Trump could potentially declare himself the nation’s “first female president.”
“I believe that individuals in our country should not face discrimination for their sex or their gender, or their sexual orientation or for their gender identity. Our country is an inclusive place and bigotry and prejudice and discrimination don’t belong here,” Gaetz said Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
“I very much want to support the legislation but I can’t because the legislation would only nominally protect certain individuals while causing tremendous harm to others,” he continued, noting the definitions of “sex” and “gender identity” in the proposed bill which would modify existing civil rights legislation to ban discrimination against one particular group.
“It says the term ‘gender identity’ means ‘the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.’ And then only a few lines later the bill says the term ‘sex’ includes sexual orientation or gender identity,” Gaetz said.
“So gender identity is defined as a concept distinct from sex but at the same time, the term ‘sex’ is defined in part by gender identity,” he noted as he unpacked the problems with the broad definitions and the inherent fallacies in the measure.
“What happens when sex is defined as gender identity and gender identity is terribly vague? Will all sex-based distinctions be erased?” he asked. “Would grants for female-led businesses and programs, for women in STEM fields suddenly be open to all persons?”
The “Equality Act,” which currently has 237 Democrat sponsors and only three Republicans, is expected to pass the House but not likely to move ahead in the GOP majority-held Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had already declared that ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community was a top priority for Democrats in the current session, introduced the bill last month.
Gaetz again reiterated his support of transgender individuals during Tuesday’s hearing but warned his colleagues about the problems he could foresee with the bill.
“I strongly support the rights of transgender individuals. I will not denigrate or deny their existence or their struggles, but I am concerned about the potential of bad actors who would exploit the provisions of this law for their own gain,” Gaetz said, as he presented another striking argument against preserving transgender identity in law.
“Consider this possibility: if President Trump were to say, ‘I am the first female president,’ who would celebrate that?” Gaetz asked. “Would those who support the legislation think that’s a good thing or would they be dismayed?”
Although Trump obviously does not identify as a woman, the congressman’s point was to draw attention to the absurd ends the law could go as transgender activists and critics would be forced to accept Trump as the first female president if he chose to declare it.