6candidatesEquality Federation is disappointed to learn that six candidates for president signed a pledge supporting the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). FADA is an unnecessary piece of legislation that would enshrine discrimination into law, prohibiting the federal government from stepping in when people or businesses discriminate because they believe “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman” or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Freedom of religion is important; it’s part of what makes America great. That’s why it’s already protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The rule of law is also important, and we can’t just create sweeping religious exemptions for people to pick and choose how to follow our laws. Exemptions like this could result in unintended consequences:

– Any business that is not a publicly traded for-profit entity can discriminate against same-sex couples and their families. The implications are enormous, exposing millions of LGBT people to potential discrimination. Less than one percent of the 27 million businesses in the United States are publicly traded. The rest may discriminate at will based on their owners’ and employees’ personal objections to marriage equality.

-Only those who oppose same-sex marriage would receive special legal protections. It does not give these same protections to those who support marriage equality, potentially and ironically violating both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

-The revised bill leaves a loophole for not-for-profit federal contractors, allowing them to discriminate against or deny critical services to same-sex couples and their families.

Ian  Palmquist, Director of Leadership Programs of Equality Federation said, “It’s unfortunate that in this day and age the LGBTQ community must still work so hard for the very basic American freedoms we should all have an opportunity to enjoy. We should treat others the way we’d like to be treated, and businesses that are open to the public should be open to us all. By signing this pledge, these six candidates are placing themselves squarely on the wrong side of history. As a nation, we can do better.”

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Ian Palmquist

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