Photo Credits: Political Dig
Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and several of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives introduced the so-called “Fairness for All Act.” The act should be a compromise that protects both LGBTQ people and religious liberty. In reality, it’s not like that.
ACLU reports that in reality, the bill facilitates the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to give a greenlight to those who would turn LGBTQ people away from jobs, health care, housing, even taxpayer-funded programs, simply because of who they are. The bill also weakens some longstanding protections in federal and state laws for everyone, not just LGBTQ people.
The new legislation is allowing religious organizations and service providers the ability to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity where they are explicitly prohibited under current federal law from discriminating based on other protected characteristics.
By singling out LGBTQ people and allowing religious business owners to discriminate against them while they are forbidden to discriminate based on race, LGBTQ people get fewer protections than others. Also the bill would allow taxpayer-funded, faith-based foster homes and adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective same-sex couples or Jews/atheists/Muslims or single parents.
The new bill would undermine a potentially favorable ruling in cases before the Supreme Court by authorizing discrimination in many contexts where it would be prohibited under existing law.
“The job we have before us in our society today is a good example of that; where we have the principle of non-discrimination that every American should be treated fairly and with respect and with dignity, and at the same time, the sincerely held belief that religious faith and principles also matter. And how do we reconcile those two conflicting principles?” Stewart said. “This is what we are trying to do with this legislation.”
On the other side, many national advocacy groups expressed strong opposition to the so-called “Fairness For All” Act and they wrote in their statement:
“The “Fairness for All” Act is anything but fair, and it certainly does not serve all of us. It is an affront to existing civil rights protections that protect people on the basis of race, sex, and religion and creates new, substandard protections for LGBTQ people with massive loopholes and carve-outs, and upends critical federal programs that serve children in need.
The Equality Act was passed through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, and nearly 70 percent of Americans support comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The “Fairness for All” Act, on the other hand, was introduced by a small group of lawmakers. This legislation licenses discrimination while eroding the rights of people of faith.
It is wrong, and we strongly oppose it.”