PRESS RELEASE: Religious leaders speak out in favor of equality law
Washington, DC – As the US House of Representatives prepares to vote on equality law, national religious leaders are speaking out in favor of protections against LGBTQ discrimination. In a press call organized today by the Center for American Progress on behalf of the Faith for Equality coalition, LGBTQ and religious leaders discussed the importance of passing this landmark civil rights legislation and of how their support is based on the religious belief that everyone should be able to live without discrimination.
More than 100 faith groups have approved the Equality Act, which would provide consistent and explicit protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people in key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service.
Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, praised President Joe Biden’s support for the Equality Act. She said he recognizes the principle of the Catholic faith that everyone is welcome.
“And if all are welcome, all must be protected. I think the fundamental position of our faith is to welcome and provide security and the ability to flourish for all, ”said Campbell. “President Biden comes with a very deep sense of what our faith calls us to do, and that is to ensure that everyone can thrive, even if we don’t agree with them.”
Sunu Chandy, Legal Director of the National Women’s Law Center, spoke about her personal experience as an active member of her church and as a member of the LGBTQ community. She also said that although the United States Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of labor rights for LGBTQ workers, the equality law is still needed for additional protections in public housing and programs funded by the federal government, as well as in public transport and other public spaces such as shopping. shopping centers and carpools. It would also add explicit protections against discrimination in housing, schools, healthcare and the workplace.
“We cannot count on an administration that is always friendly; we can’t always rely on the courts to get it right, ”Chandy said. “We need to have these protections in our federal civil rights laws. “
Rabbi Jared Saks, of the Bet Ha’am congregation in South Portland, Maine, said the LGBTQ community still faces discrimination in many areas of daily life and most states do not have laws for them. protect.
“The most central theme in Jewish scriptures is equality – fair treatment of those most at risk,” Saks said. “Time and again the Torah commands us not to oppress the stranger because we know the heart of the stranger, having been strangers ourselves in the land of Egypt. LGBTQ equality is a central value of Jewish tradition…. In 29 states, we can still be kicked out of our homes, kicked out of restaurants and denied loans, among other things, for who we are and who we love. For too long, we have lived without the essential protections that equality law will provide – protections that should be guaranteed for all of us, no matter where we live in this nation. The current patchwork of protections is insufficient.
Scott simpson, director of public advocacy at Muslim Advocates, said his civil rights organization was proud to approve legislation that would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community, including deserving LGBTQ Muslims. to be protected against discrimination in all its forms. In many cases, he said, the current civil rights law does not provide adequate protection against discrimination.
“The scourge of discrimination against American Muslims of all origins is happening across the country,” Simpson said. “The plague can be summed up in three words: ‘No Muslim is allowed.’ … Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims often face discrimination in public facilities that will be newly covered by the Equality Act – airlines, taxis and carpools, health care providers, food banks, shelters, gyms and recreation centers; and so many places where American Muslims just want to go about their daily business indiscriminately. “
Mitchell Gold, Co-founder and chairman of Taylorsville, North Carolina-based furniture company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams said the equality law would embrace religious freedom and reduce religious bigotry.
“As a businessman whose second nature is not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or race, religion, etc., this has served my business well since our time. foundation more than 30 years ago, allowing us to become a prestigious house recognized nationally. furniture brand, ”Gold said. “My company is located in Taylorsville, North Carolina, where I also live. … The media has a real opportunity to let people know that there is a wave of people of deep faith who have children or gay parents or neighbors, and they want to love.
Bishop Yvette Flunder, presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, said passing the equality law would help break down divisions in the country.
“One of the things we can start to do is stop being forked,” Flunder said. “It would be refreshing, wouldn’t it, if we could get away from the us and the them that are so present in our atmosphere?” … My hope is that what we can do with this equality law is expire, in terms of the bifurcation that is happening in our country. I think we have to move away from us and them and go towards us. There is really only “us”. And we have everyone’s concerns at heart. We owe it to the generations that succeed us.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at g r o. s s e r g o r n a c i r e m a @ l e n a n a h s or 202-478-6327.