Los Angeles–In response to guidance issued today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that grants a sweeping religious ‘license to discriminate’ to federal employers, contractors and grantees, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“Just a day after announcing that federal employment protections do not apply to transgender Americans, the Trump Administration has once again laid siege to laws separating church and state. Today’s anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ guidance invites taxpayer-funded federal agencies, government employees, and government contractors and grantees to discriminate as long as they cite a religious belief as the reason for doing it.
Today’s guidance opens a Pandora’s box of consequences for LGBTQ and millions of other Americans by allowing and condoning the use of federal taxpayer dollars to fund anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It supports taxpayer-funded government contractors who fire hardworking employees simply because they’re LGBTQ, a single parent, or part of an unmarried couple living together. Rape victims could be denied emergency birth control if they go to a taxpayer-funded religious hospital, and the government could refuse to do anything about it. A homeless shelter receiving federal funds could refuse refuge for a family where the parents were unmarried, or for homeless youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. When LGBTQ people already face staggering disparities in health and wellbeing compared to the general public – with high rates of depression, substance abuse and homelessness – federal guidance is often all that protects those living in states without LGBTQ-specific anti-discrimination laws.
Freedom of religion is already appropriately protected under the First Amendment. Equality California is working with lawmakers and partner organizations in Washington, D.C. and across the country to block attempts to use imagined threats to religious liberty as an excuse to discriminate against millions of Americans.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org