WASHINGTON — In response to introduction of the so-called Fairness for All Act in the House of Representatives, Ronnie Newman, National Political Director for the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement:
“Far from being about fairness for everyone, this bill facilitates efforts to allow taxpayer-funded discrimination, undermines existing civil rights protections, and gives a green light to turning LGBTQ people away from jobs, health care, housing, and more.
“The bill would change the critical balance between our fundamental values of religious liberty and prohibiting discrimination that Congress already struck in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to license more discrimination. There’s no reason laws prohibiting discrimination should be different for LGBTQ people.
“Within the next seven months, the Supreme Court is poised to rule in a trio of cases concerning the existing rights of LGBTQ people under federal law. This bill would undermine a potentially favorable ruling for LGBTQ people in those cases by authorizing discrimination in many contexts.
“Regardless of the outcome in the pending cases, efforts that seek to authorize discrimination against LGBTQ people are dangerous and misguided. Proponents of the bill also claim that it would settle other court fights over whether people of faith have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people, but it would do just the opposite, inviting more litigation and less clarity over the existing balance struck by Congress and interpreted by the courts for decades.
“We need legislation that provides LGBTQ people with comprehensive, nationwide nondiscrimination protections and closes gaps in our civil rights laws for everyone, and that’s why the Senate must do what the House of Representatives — on a bipartisan vote — did earlier this year: update our civil rights laws to offer essential and comprehensive protections by passing the Equality Act.”