Social conservatives are understandably appalled by the prospect of the passage of the so-called “Equality Act.”

Adding sexual orientation and gender preferences to civil rights protections would effectively destroy religious liberty and allow transgender people access to bathrooms and locker rooms of either gender.

Ironically enough, the Equality Act would also eliminate the progress of the feminist movement by enshrining transgender ideology into federal law. If “man” and “woman” are fluid categories, women don’t need special protections in sports, healthcare, or any other area of American life.

These are all valid concerns, but I think there’s a bigger, more important question we should be asking: why does the federal government get to dictate this kind of policy for the entire country?

I’ve always held that what is decided is far less important than who decides. Policies or laws can be reversed, but politicians never willingly give up power. Once a segment of government is empowered to make decisions, they rarely abandon that decision-making authority. And when the federal government makes a decision, they force all Americans to abide by it.

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Equality Act-style provisions are dangerous at the state level—there’s no doubt about that. States have tried to force floristsbakersphotographerswedding venue ownersvideographersweb designerscalligraphers, and public servants to serve in weddings that go against their deeply held religious beliefs. They’ve tried to force hospitals to perform transgender surgery and parents to give their children hormone blockers.

We should be fighting these policies at the state level, but those battles are winnable. State legislators are much more responsive than federal legislators to their constituents, and grassroots organizing can be accomplished with limited resources, as the Gavin Newsom recall efforts have so powerfully shown. And, if the battle is unwinnable, Americans can simply move to another state that reflects their values.

If we allow the federal government to dictate Equality Act policies to the entire country, there’s no going back. A Republican majority may reverse those policies at some point down the line, but Americans have far less power to influence their federal politicians. They demanded for years that Republicans eliminate Obamacare, and we all know how that turned out.

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Even more terrifying, there’s no escape from federal dictates. Americans can’t move to another state to get away from tyrannical, gender-bending orders. Unless they renounce their citizenship and move abroad, there’s no way to avoid woke-ism if it takes control of Washington.

The Democrat-controlled House has already passed the Equality Act. If the Senate filibuster falls, we can expect it to pass along party lines. Such an outcome would harm all Americans—not just parents and religious communities—by disempowering voters in all 50 states. Rather than act as free, self-governing citizens regarding these issues, the American people would forever be at the mercy of the shifting political landscape in Washington.

This is part of the reason why I helped found the Convention of States Project. A Convention of States can empower the people and the states by limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government with constitutional amendments.

If you answer the question, “Who decides?” with “We the People,” you can support the Convention of Sates movement, no matter what you think about the Equality Act. 

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.