Stop the right-wing attack on equality
Right-wing religious extremists will stop at nothing to turn back the clock on marriage equality, and they have been employing a powerful tool: Religious Freedom and Restoration Acts (RFRA). Under the guise of “protecting religious freedom,” RFRAs allow individuals and corporations to use religion as an excuse to discriminate.
When Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she was backed by her state’s RFRA. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has used the RFRA enshrined in his state’s constitution as justification for his relentless attempts to block marriage equality as well.
Now, legislative sessions all over the country have begun, and marriage equality is under attack. Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow religious extremism to override equality. Access to equal protection under the law shouldn’t depend on the state you live in. People who believe in equality need to push back now.
Tell the Republican Governors Association: Take a stand against attempts by state legislatures to license religious-based discrimination.
The original RFRA is a federal ruling enacted in 1993 to protect the rights of religious minorities. Today, RFRAs have been so profoundly co-opted by religious extremists that many original proponents of the RFRA now oppose them.1 The risks of RFRA’s are not just to marriage equality. RFRAs as they are currently being proposed could be used to refuse medical treatment, deny women reproductive health care, justify discrimination in hiring, override nondiscrimination laws, and challenge the legitimacy of state laws against child abuse and domestic violence.2
States that give residents license to discriminate also face economic consequences. When Indiana’s RFRA passed last year, the business community was swift in its repudiation. Salesforce announced it would scale back investments there and Angie’s List cancelled a $40 million expansion in the state.3 Leading business groups in Georgia have estimated that similar bills could cost the Atlanta region alone between $1 and $2 billion.4 No one, no matter what state they live in, should have to bear these kinds of costs because right-wing extremists are threatened by advances in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and women’s equality.
Tell the Republican Governors Association: Take a stand against attempts by state legislators to license religious-based discrimination.
No one should be allowed to use religion as an excuse to harm others.The more people who sign the petition, the louder our message will be that we won’t stand for discrimination.
Thanks for defending equality today.
1. “Why Shouldn't States Just Adopt the Federal RFRA?,” Protect Thy Neighbor, 2015.
2. Ian Millhiser, “If You Want To Know The Problem With Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law, Just Ask George W. Bush,” ThinkProgress, 3/20/2015.
3. Kay Steiger, “The Growing Backlash Against Indiana’s New LGBT Discrimination Law,” ThinkProgress, 3/27/2015.
4. Sarah McBride, “The Economic Cost of Overly Broad RFRAs,” Center for American Progress, 2/4/2016.