January 2020 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

Americans United last month joined several national organizations in expressing strong opposition to a bill introduced in Congress called the Fairness For All Act.

AU says the bill, which purports to protect LGBTQ rights, will actually undermine them.

In a joint statement, Americans United and other groups criticized the bill. The statement reads in part: “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. 

“This legislation is deeply dangerous for many reasons, mainly because it would erode protections that already exist for people based on race, sex and religion, rolling back protections that have been on the books for decades. It would expand the number of places and situations in which lawful discrimination could occur.

“At the same time, it would introduce new, problematic provisions purportedly seeking to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity with broad exemptions, essentially licensing discrimination against LGBTQ people and women. Communities of color, who suffer from disproportionately higher rates of discrimination and harassment would be especially vulnerable to harm under these broad exemptions. Our nation’s existing civil rights framework already strikes the right balance when it comes to the government’s interest in protecting religious freedom and advancing nondiscrimination, and it is wrong to put into law a different system of protections for LGBTQ people and their families.”

Americans United called instead for passage of the Equality Act, bipartisan legislation that passed the House of Representatives last year. The Equality Act, which has the support of nearly 70 percent of Americans, would grant comprehensive non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people.