On Wednesday, March 13, Congressman David Cicilline and Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin and Cory Booker reintroduced the Equality Act, a top legislative priority for Interfaith Alliance. A broad coalition of nearly 300 faith-based and civil rights groups welcomed the bill as organizational sponsors, alongside outspoken support from the business community.
The Equality Act features the largest number of co-sponsors for any piece of LGBTQ+ rights legislation in history, with nearly 230 co-sponsors in the House and 46 in the Senate. The Act would provide consist non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in key areas of everyday life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, jury service and federally funded programs. It would also strengthen existing civil rights laws, include prohibitions on religious discrimination, to address contemporary challenges.
Religious freedom and non-discrimination protections are complementary values, rooted in the fundamental principle that every person should be treated equally under the law. But religious freedom claims have increasingly been used to ostracize LGBTQ+ people and exclude them from public life. The Equality Act reverse this disturbing trend by prohibiting the misuse of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to justify discrimination.
Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance, voiced his strong moral and philosophical support for the Equality Act, saying:
“Our country is founded on the idea that all are created equal — a value shared across faith traditions and philosophies. The aspirations of our founders have not always managed to find full expression in society. The Equality Act is a step forward to the full — and overdue — citizenship rights for LGBTQ+ persons.”
Interfaith Alliance is committed to affirming the dignity of all LGBTQ+ Americans, including many beloved members of our faith communities. The Equality Act ensures that LGBTQ+ people – including religious and non-religiously affiliated people – enjoy the same freedoms under the law as their neighbors.