WASHINGTON – Following today’s vote on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, legislation that would protect all Houstonians from discrimination on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and several other characteristics, Rabbi Jack Moline released the following statement:

“Today’s vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a loss but it is not defeat. The Constitution was not on the ballot in Houston today, and people’s fundamental rights are never up for a vote. We at Interfaith Alliance maintain that discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity, and the use of religious ideology to limit a person’s rights, is a clear violation of the Constitution and its promise of religious freedom.

“The Religious Right has distorted the truth behind this law, and non-discrimination laws across the country, for too long. We need not choose between real religious freedom and equality for all Americans. Indeed, it is just the opposite: all of our rights are strengthened when we ban discrimination against a particular class of people, all our rights threatened when we wield the Constitution as a weapon for hatred and bigotry.

“Today’s loss in Houston proves once again the need for swift federal action to protect the rights of all Americans. One’s freedom to work and freedom to worship should never be dependent on where one lives.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.