United Methodist Church to hold town hall on H.R. 5

SWARTZ CREEK — The United Methodist Church of Swartz Creek will host a town hall on House Resolution 5, also known as the Equality Act, at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 23.

A panel of pastors will review the proposed resolution. The town hall will take place in the outdoor pavilion, weather permitting, or indoors in the event of inclement weather.

Attendees should bring lawn chairs and masks, and may bring snacks and beverages.

H.R. 5 was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 18 and passed in the House seven days later. It is now under consideration in the Senate.

Town hall organizers allege it “attacks the sanctity of the family and demonstrates hostility to religious freedom and freedom of speech.”

In an invitation distributed in the community, organizers say H.R. 5 redefines sex to include “sexual orientation and gender identity, compelling public schools to adopt new language for children to use and appropriate curriculum, regardless of biological fact and family beliefs.”

It also “forces faith-based organizations to hire employees who do not share their beliefs and explicitly removes the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” they say.

Organizers also say H.R. 5 requires sports to be available based upon gender-identification, which they believe is discriminatory against girls and women in opportunities and scholarships.

“H.R. 5 compels public schools and organizations to open their bathrooms, locker rooms, showers to both sexes, regardless of risk,” they say.

According to information posted on Congress. gov, the bill “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

“The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.

“The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”