Do not be fooled.
Religious freedom is important and is a basic tenet of American civil rights. That is why it is protected in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. This is not an attempt to protect religious freedom. This is an invitation and how-to guide for discriminating against LGBTQ people and women. This guidance provides wide latitude for discrimination against LGBTQ people for individuals, government agencies, and businesses as long as they cite religious beliefs as the reason they are doing so. It is a brazen attack on our community.
This is only the latest in a long list of actions being taken at the federal level to dismantle the rights of the LGBTQ population, including:
- Reversing Obama-era policy protecting trans people from employment discrimination
- The Department of Justice arguing that it is legal to fire people for being gay in court, undermining existing EEOC rules
- The Department of Justice arguing in court that businesses refusing service to same-sex couples is justified
- Rescinding guidance to schools protecting transgender students and replacing it with guidance that allows schools to discriminate
- Instituting a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military
- Proposing massive HIV funding cuts
- Removing LGBTQ people from the census and other data collection methods
- Dropping out of lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s anti-transgender law
If you want to know what actions you can take in the fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, consider the following.
- Call your representatives to support local and statewide nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBTQ people, like Ohio Senate Bill 100 and House Bill 160.
- Oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation being proposed in the guide of “protecting religious freedom,” like Ohio House Bill 36.
- Support LGBTQ advocacy organizations like the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Equality Ohio, the ACLU of Ohio, and Lambda Legal.