AS CONGRESS INTRODUCES THE EQUALITY ACT, FAITH LEADERS SPEAK OUT IN SUPPORT OF LGBTQ NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:March 13, 2019

CONTACT:Sarah Massey, smassey@thetaskforce.org, 202-639-6308

As Congress Introduces the Equality Act, Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections

National Religious Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Equality Act

Washington, D.C– Today, as Congress introduces the Equality Act, national religious leaders are speaking out in support of LGBTQ non-discrimination protections. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. According to polling data recently released by PRRI,millions of people of faith throughout the country support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. This afternoon, religious leaders and people of faith held a national media call expressing their support for the Equality Act. On the call, they grounded their support in their religious beliefs: that LGBTQ people have sacred dignity and worth, that we should treat our LGBTQ neighbors as ourselves, and that all people should be able to live free from discrimination. The religious leaders invited people of faith to join them in advocating for the Equality Act and encouraged them to join a letter from faith communities in support of the bill. Additionally, national faith leaders released the following statements on the Equality Act’s introduction:

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C.

“We applaud today’s reintroduction of the Equality Act. Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim – in the Divine image – and deserve dignity and respect. Yet over half of our states lack basic safeguards for LGBTQ people, and the LGBTQ community still faces discrimination in many areas of daily life including employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federal funding, credit, and jury selection. Federal law must reflect what we know to be true: everyone should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. We urge Congress to pass the Equality Act.”

Joan Chittister, Order of Saint Benedict, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, , Erie, Pennsylvania

 “When any one of us is denied our full rights as a human being, no human being is safe. And as long as religion is used to permit this—as it did slavery, segregation, and women—religion itself has failed. The God who made us all loves us all and wants us all to be able to live free and full everywhere. It is that God my religion enabled me to know and it is that religion that assures me that the Equality Act must be passed, must be extended, and must be lived if religion itself is to be true.”

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York

 “As a Christian, my faith teaches me that every single human being is made in the image of God, and therefore discrimination is not only a sin against your neighbor, but it is also a sin against God. My prayer is that this is the moment when we make right past wrongs committed against the LGBT community by guaranteeing equal legal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations. I’m glad that the efforts being made towards this end account for the cherished value of religious freedom by mirroring protections for other groups.”

Bishop Gene Robinson, former Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Washington, D.C.

“God doesn’t need protection, religion is already guaranteed protection in the Constitution, but LGBTQ people lack many of the protections taken for granted by most American citizens. God is always working for the compassionate treatment and full inclusion of the marginalized and mistreated. The Equality Act is a way for us to join God in that work of compassion and fairness.”

Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee

“For a nation that has long prided itself on the home of the American Dream—a place where each person has a chance to live full and meaningful lives—comprehensive nondiscrimination protections help us underscore this dream for LGBTQI folk and it does not come at the expense of religious or political viewpoints. We can, instead, lean more forcefully into our religious convictions that teach us to welcome the stranger, love one another, live in hope, and work to create a more just and peaceful world.”

In the weeks to come, faith leaders will continue to speak out in support of the Equality Act. If you are interested in learning more about our efforts or scheduling interviews with any faith leaders, please contact Sarah Massey at smassey@thetaskforce.org, 202-639-6308.

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