Background: Fairness for All Act
There is growing bipartisan interest in balanced legislation that ensures lasting religious freedom and provides protections for LGBT Americans. Unlike the Equality Act and the First Amendment Defense Act, a balanced proposal can be enacted into law and resolve many of the key conflicts between religious and LGBT rights.
Under the leadership of Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), a number of members from both parties are in negotiations to introduce the Fairness for All Act in the House. Companion legislation is also expected to be introduced in the Senate. This proposal echoes legislation that has been already been enacted in many states, including Utah.
This bill will have the support of many state and national LGBT organizations and diverse religious organizations—organizations that disagree on the definition of marriage but agree on supporting LGBT nondiscrimination and broad religious rights.
Important Elements of Fairness for All Act
- Prohibits LGBT discrimination in employment
- Protects churches, religious schools, and other religious charities by ensuring they can employ those who adhere to their beliefs and standards.
- Prohibits LGBT and sex discrimination in public accommodations.
- Protects religious properties from being treated as places of public accommodation.
- Protects the conscience of medical providers and marriage counselors.
- Prohibits LGBT and sex discrimination in federal funding
- Protects ability of religious adoption and foster care providers to continue to serve using a model drawn from the longstanding federal child care program.Protects houses of worship, religious schools, and other faith- based entities that receive federal funds (e.g., Pell Grants, security grants, school lunch) so they can continue to operate according to their religious beliefs.
- Guarantees greater personal privacy for everyone in restrooms, showers and similar facilities.
- Governments—including state and local governments—cannot retaliate against protected religious persons and organizations.
- Prohibits LGBT discrimination in housing, credit, and jury service.
- Abortion neutral—no change in federal abortion law or policy.
- Preserves Religious Freedom Restoration Act.