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The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Amid growing conflict between LGBTQ rights and religious freedom, a new bill aims to chart a path to a more peaceful future.
The Fairness for All Act, which will be introduced Friday in the House of Representatives and is sponsored by Utah Rep. Chris Stewart, pairs nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender Americans with protections for people of faith. It would outlaw discrimination against gay and transgender Americans in most areas of public life, while also creating safeguards for a variety of religious organizations and individuals, including marriage counselors, adoption agencies and schools.
“We want to do the right thing by gay rights, but we think you have to do the right thing by religious freedom, too,” said Stanley Carlson-Thies, who is the founder and senior director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance. He’s part of the diverse coalition of legal experts, religious leaders and LGBTQ civil rights activists that worked on the bill.
The Fairness for All Act will face an uphill battle in Congress, as well as pushback from prominent LGBTQ rights groups and some religious leaders who object to the bill’s approach. But its supporters hope, at the very least, it will contribute to more constructive debates.
What is the Fairness for All Act?
Under the Fairness for All Act, it would be illegal for an employer to fire someone for being gay or a landlord to kick someone out of their apartment for being transgender. But it would also be illegal to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status if the pastor preaches that same-sex marriage is a sin or prevent faith-based organizations from participating in federal funding programs.
The act would add sexual orientation and gender identity-based protections to federal civil rights laws, while also expanding existing religious exemptions to address potential conflicts created by the change.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.