To counter the Democrat backed Equality Act that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide housing, employment, and public accommodation protections to millions of LGBT American citizens a Republican congressman on Friday introduced legislation he says will balance the rights of the religious and LGBT people.
The Fairness for All Act (FFA), introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, would still make sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) protected classes under the federal Civil Rights Act. But would still allow the right to discriminate aka. religious freedom, exempting churches and religious nonprofits from the anti-discrimination rules. Only for-profit business owners would be subject to the rules, unless they have fewer than 15 employees.
“The Equality Act was written in such a way that a religious person like myself couldn’t vote for it,” said Stewart, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “[Democratic legislators] wrote it so that they could say to LGBT people, ‘No Republican voted for it; they don’t care about people like you,’ which just isn’t true.”
Congressman, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York’s Hudson Valley, warned the public to avoid getting fooled by the FFA bill that he said has nothing to do with fairness.
“The bipartisan Equality Act is the only bill in the House that will bring equal protections under the law for LGBT people. This weak legislative stunt by the Republican Party won’t deter us in our fight for true equality.”
The American Civil Liberties Union’s national political director Ronnie Newman said in a written statement that “this bill facilitates efforts to allow taxpayer-funded discrimination, undermines existing civil rights protections, and gives a green light to turning LGBT people away from jobs, health care, housing, and more.”
He continued, “The bill would change the critical balance between our fundamental values of religious liberty and prohibiting discrimination that Congress already struck in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to license more discrimination. There’s no reason laws prohibiting discrimination should be different for LGBT people.”