Oct 08, 2019

Speaking from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning during the “Protect LGBTQ Workers” Rally, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, urged the justices to uphold critical protections for LGBTQ people, making it clear that no one’s rights hinge on someone else’s religious beliefs. 

The cases before the Supreme Court today will determine if Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination. The court’s decision could have wide-ranging implications for many important areas of life, including housing, health care, education and credit.

Laser offered the following remarks:

“My name is Rachel Laser. I am the president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I’m here representing our 300,000 supporters across the country who cherish our country’s fundamental commitment to religious freedom. 

Our members include devout people of faith and fervent nontheists, all united in our belief that religious freedom is not a license to discriminate.

In America, we are governed by our shared secular values, not the privileged religious views of some. In America, we should all be treated equally no matter who we are, who we love or what we believe. 

But that’s not the America Aimee Stephens lives in. Aimee’s boss says he gets to fire her because her decision to be true to herself as a trans woman contradicted his religious beliefs. And it’s not the America that Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock experienced either. They were both fired for being gay.  

Today, we call on the Supreme Court to affirm that our equality and ability to fully participate in society should not hinge on our boss’s religious beliefs, or anyone else’s. 

The religious freedom enshrined in our constitution is meant to protect the right to practice any religion, or no religion at all, without harming others.

But let’s call out the truth – emboldened religious extremists today are weaponizing this sacred idea of religious freedom to turn back the clock on equality.

It’s relentless. It’s exhausting. And the court should make clear it’s against the law.

Americans United is proud to join our many allies here today, and every day, to hold our country accountable to its promise of freedom and equality for all.”

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.