Tyler Deaton and Tim Schultz make their case for a better way forward when it comes to resolving the legal and cultural conflicts between their communities. Tyler and Tim are calling for a comprehensive legislative solution that preserves religious freedom, protects LGBT civil rights, and can earn broad, bipartisan support in Congress.
— This article previously published in Morning Consult by Tyler Deaton and Tim Schultz
The Supreme Court is staying out of cases involving workers who say they were fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, giving Congress another opportunity to do its job and take up the much-needed work of balancing anti-discrimination policies and religious freedom.
Federal law currently has a gaping hole when it comes to some of the most important issues of personal identity in American life – religion, sexuality and gender. It’s high time for Congress to consider all viewpoints and pass a law that prevents discrimination while protecting religious liberty.
Imagine being thrown out of your home, fired from your job or denied a loan solely because of who you are or whom you love. That regularly happens in America because discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is legal in 29 states. Uneven or nonexistent legal protections means that for many Americans, access to fundamental rights depends on the states and localities where they live.
Now imagine a choice between your religious beliefs or closing your doors to care for the vulnerable, or being denied a scholarship or student-teaching placement because you are a student at a religious college or university. The current federal policy vacuum means many Americans do not feel free to exercise their First Amendment right to live according to their faith and to serve their community guided by their sincere beliefs.
We are advocates for interests that many in our society see as in conflict: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender freedom and religious freedom. We don’t agree on everything, but we agree the answer needs to be legislative and shouldn’t come from the courts. Judicial decisions are narrowly tailored to the disputes they address.
The Supreme Court had two major opportunities this term to decide LGBT discrimination claims. One involved a Long Island skydiving instructor who said he was fired because he was gay, the other a transgender woman who lost her job at a Detroit-area funeral home when she transitioned at work. The court is not taking up either of them.
Meanwhile, there are already productive policy conversations underway to find common ground and to affirm that what unites us is much larger than what divides us.