Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Anti-gay groups counting on national 'religious freedom' bill to curtail lgbt equality

For those who have been wondering about my tweets this week, they weren't solely to promote my booklet. It's because the following, according to Media Matters, is coming and the lgbt community should be ready for it:

In response to the Supreme Court's historic marriage equality ruling, conservative media has endorsed a newly proposed federal bill called the "First Amendment Defense Act" (FADA). Though conservatives have touted FADA as an effort to protect religious liberty, critics warn the bill would undermine the government's ability to combat anti-gay discrimination. 

And what damage can the FADA do? Plenty. This is just one of a few examples listed. I suggest folks read the Media Matters link for others:

ACLU: FADA Would "Open A Pandora's Box Of Taxpayer Funded Discrimination." Ian S. Thompson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, highlighted FADA's far-reaching consequences:
[P]rominent members of the House of Representatives, as well as leading anti-LGBT organizations, are pushing a bill - disingenuously titled the First Amendment Defense Act - that would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples. Its parade of horribles would:
  • allow federal contractors or grantees, including those that provide important social services like homeless shelters or drug treatment programs, to turn away LGBT people or anyone who has an intimate relationship outside of a marriage 
  • let commercial landlords violate longstanding fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the religious belief that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage 
  • permit a university to continue to receive federal financial assistance even when it fires an unmarried teacher simply for becoming pregnant 
  • permit government employees to discriminate against married same-sex couples and their families - federal employees could refuse to process tax returns, visa applications, or Social Security checks for all married same-sex couples 
  • allow businesses to discriminate by refusing to let gay or lesbian employees care for their sick spouse, in violation of family medical leave laws [ACLU, 7/20/15]

Media Matters also points out that FADA has been built on inaccurate talking points funneled via the media by anti-gay groups - i.e. claims that churches will be forced to marry gay couples or lose their tax-exempt statuses or that religious schools be targeted by the IRS for being against marriage equality.

However, Media Matters failed to mention the anecdotal horror stories of "Christian" businesses being supposedly forced to serve gay customers and clerks of courts who object to issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. I'm sure these examples will play a huge part in the GOP and anti-gay groups attempting to pass this bill.

And when I say anti-gay groups, I mean the usual suspects, i.e. the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, the Liberty Counsel. For years, these groups have demonized gays via lies, distorted science, and fear mongering designed to exploit the ignorance of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin.

This is just another attempt by them to do more of the same. Par for the vulgar course.

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