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Inequality Act before Congress needs revisions

OPINION by Dana Kelley | February 21, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

The volleyball net for women is 7 inches lower than for men. The basketball for women is a half-inch smaller in diameter than for men. The "ladies' tees" in golf are often 50 yards or more closer to the green than men's tees.

Why is that? It's because as physical specimens, female homo sapiens in general and on average are shorter, smaller-boned and less strong than the male of the species.

Following the science, as the modern mantra goes, leads to the immutable truth that there are indisputable biological differences in physical strength, muscular structure and stature between men and women, boys and girls.

The scientific facts led to common-sense reasoning involving fairness in athletic competition, which is why sports have always been segregated by sex. Performance statistics have proved the wisdom of that policy. In every measurable instance, the best-performing male beats the best-performing female -- and most times it's not even close.

The fastest male sprinter can dash down a 100-meter track a full second faster than the speediest female.

The loftiest male high jumper can clear a bar more than a foot higher than the best female high jumper.

The hardest-serving male tennis player puts 20 mph more on the ball's pace than any female player ever has.

The male world record for deadlifting weight is almost twice the female record.

The world record for a male soccer player's kick is 82 yards. No female has kicked a soccer ball more than 70 yards.

The average high school baseball pitcher throws 10 mph faster than the world record for a female overhand throw, and faster than any underhand female softball pitcher. The hardest-throwing professional pitchers hurl baseballs that are consistently 25 mph faster than professional softball pitchers' top speeds.

The longest javelin throw recorded by a male is more than 30 yards further than the longest female's throw.

The longest drive by a male golfer is more than 100 yards further than the female record.

There is almost no law that could create more inequality than one that allowed male-bodied athletes to compete with females. And yet the law Congress is considering that would do just that is preposterously called the Equality Act.

The Equality Act is not stand-alone legislation; it would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity (including transgender) as protected classes.

The distinction between orientation and identity has not drawn its due scrutiny. Whether one is a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual has nothing to do with gender physiology. Gay men are still male, lesbians are still female. Their orientation primarily exists in relation to whom they choose as partners.

But in the case of transgender individuals, men with male bodies, organs and genetics want to be regarded as females and vice versa. This flawed bill dictates that we all go into the rabbit hole and pretend that "identifying" as a different gender actually changes biological sex.

Which is the same as saying that identifying as a different race actually changes one's biological race. For that matter, why shouldn't individual identity apply to all the normal protected civil rights classes?

Why not allow people to identify with different ethnicities, colors and national origins as well? If we're to accept the smoke-and-mirrors semantics that say gender is a social construct separate from biological sex, the same can easily be said of the other classifications.

Facts and science might not change, but language and verbiage can apparently mean whatever Humpty Dumpty or the U.S. Congress chooses it to mean -- and, like Alice in "Through the Looking Glass," we the lowly people don't know the meaning until one or the other tells us.

The Senate is scheduled to take up this ludicrous legislation next week. Thankfully, unlike the House and its Wonderland caucus of far-left Mad Hatters and March Hares on the majority side, the upper chamber is split 50-50, and there's little hope of mustering 60 votes to end a filibuster.

Sen. Rand Paul has already called the sports implications of the act "bizarre," and Sen. Mitt Romney has announced opposition based on the act's specific weakening of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

That law was passed unanimously in the House, and by vote of 97 senators, in 1993. Do not imagine that the rollback of important religious freedom protections for individuals and nonchurch religious organizations is an accident in this act.

Candidate Joe Biden promised to make the Equality Act a priority in his first 100 days, and as president he promptly issued an executive order directing federal agencies to apply a narrow Supreme Court sexual-orientation ruling more broadly.

An appropriate name for this season of unreason might be the Era of Lost Common Sense. When the legality of forcing schools to let athletically superior biological males participate competitively alongside inferior biological females is debated as a matter of "equality," it's clear the nation's political belfry has become infested with bats.

A good-faith fix would be to change the Equality Act's language to exclude school sports and retain religious freedoms. Without both revisions, it makes a mockery of its name.

Dana D. Kel­ley, a free­lance writer from Jones­boro, regularly appears in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


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