Congressional leaders are in heated arguments over a proposed bill that would protect religious freedom, but could also allow members of the LGBT community to suffer legal discrimination. The proposed bill titled, The First Amendment Defense Act, would prohibit anyone from bringing legal action against a person exercising their religious beliefs. Though advocates for the bill claim that the act would protect the right to religious freedom that our Constitution was built on, opponents claim that the bill will perpetuate discrimination against the LGBT community as well as single parents and those engaging in premarital sex.
The bill has 171 congressional supporters that are facing fierce opposition from Democrats and outside LGBT advocacy groups. Those in support of the bill argue that it is just as much of a Constitutional right for someone to act within their religious and moral beliefs as it is for those in the LGBT community to exercise their right to same sex marriage. Opponents to the bill fear that the new amendment would take away the anti-discrimination protections afforded under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They also fear that members of the LGBT community could see legal discrimination extend in areas of employment and housing.
The Potential Consequences of the First Amendment Defense Act
If the bill becomes law, an LGBT employee could be terminated, demoted, refused hire, or otherwise discriminated against by an employer who believes same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and gender reassignment are morally wrong or against their faith’s teachings. Housing authorities, real estate agents, and rental property owners could also legally refuse to show, rent, or sell property to a gay or transgender applicant. Businesses would be in their legal right to refuse services to those they believe live immoral lives.
Many democrats and LGBT advocates are upset with the proposal coming soon after the killings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Opponents argue that the religious freedom bill would encourage more bias against gay and transgender individuals and promote more violent opposition.
Congress will have to resume deliberations on the First Amendment Defense Act, carefully examining its language to ensure the bill would not diminish the legal protections afforded by the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While advocates for the bill stress the right of all to live within their religious and moral beliefs, careful attention must be focused on protecting the rights of all citizens to live freely.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for the Rights of the LGBT Community
Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates are staunch advocates for the rights of the LGBT community. Our law firm works diligently to protect our clients from discrimination while protecting the legal rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. If you or someone you love is facing discrimination in the workplace, we can help you claim justice.
Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in the heart of Philadelphia and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.