Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for passing landmark legislation today and urging the Senate to take swift action to do the same. The Equality Act (H.R. 5) passed the House in a 236-173 bipartisan vote.
“Today, our country moved closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom and equality for all with the House passage of the Equality Act. This landmark legislation provides crucial, nationwide protections for LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and people of color – all of whom are frequent targets of discrimination because of who they are, who they love or what they look like and what they believe. Just as important, the Equality Act makes clear that religious freedom cannot be misused to undermine these protections.
“The Equality Act is a critically needed check on the Religious Right’s weaponization of ‘religious freedom’ as a license to discriminate. Time and again the safety and security of the LGBTQ community is threatened by the Religious Right’s desire to move our country backwards. Due to grossly inadequate legal protections and all-too-common government policies that allow for religious refusals where protections do exist, they continue to succeed. Enough is enough.
“We cannot waste this historic moment. We urge the U.S. Senate to act swiftly so the millions of people who suffer because of discrimination can experience a new day of equality. Religious freedom is guaranteed in our Constitution. So is equality. This bill delivers on both of those promises.”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.