American Values Require Protecting Both LGBT Rights and Religious Freedom
The Alliance for Lasting Liberty (ALL), a coalition of LGBT and religious freedom advocates, supports the extension of federal protections to LGBT employees. At the same time, the Supreme Court’s decision leaves unanswered how the promise of protection for all will be safeguarded. The Court acknowledged protections for religious freedoms, but it also recognized that there are many questions to be resolved leaving great uncertainty. Therefore, ALL believes it is more important than ever to redouble our efforts to ensure all Americans have equal protections under the law by adopting the Fairness for All Act (H.R. 5331) because not all LGBT and religious freedoms have been secured by this decision.
Among America’s foundational values is protection of the right of people and organizations to “exercise” their religion—to live life in accordance with their deeply held convictions. Many legal precedents have been established, and much legislation adopted, detailing what the First Amendment’s protection of the “exercise” of religion means in real life. These provisions ought to be maintained even when other rights are clarified and expanded. That is what America’s promise of respect and dignity for all requires.
The judicial system is not the appropriate place for the fine-tuning required so that federal civil rights can protect, at the same time, the rights of LGBT people and the freedoms of people and organizations whose values differ from them. The Supreme Court’s decision is the perfect occasion for Congress to take up its legislative task and adopt the Fairness for All Act (H.R. 5331).