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As you may be aware, conservatives continue to weaponize the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) against our families. The RFRA was initially enacted in 1993, and meant to protect religious minorities.1 That original intent has been misconstrued and distorted, however. Now, "religious freedom" is being claimed as a rationale for blatant discrimination against LGBTQ people and our families, and we've seen it deployed in state after state.
Last week Trump Administration's Dep't of Health & Human Services declared it permissible for a federally-funded foster care and adoption agency in South Carolina to discriminate against Jews and LGBTQ people, in the name of "religious freedom."2
And South Carolina's not alone: nineteen other states use "religious exemption" as a rationale to legalize discrimination; ten specifically to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, if doing so "conflicts with their religious beliefs."3
But as disillusioning as this trend may be, we are not powerless!
Demand your representatives vigorously support the Do No Harm Act. And connect with friends and family far and wide and encourage them to do the same.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, along more than 70 organizations, including all our national LGBTQ champions, support the Do No Harm Act. It was brought to the Senate by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and cosponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, and makes clear that in our nation, religious freedoms should be protected, but never should be used as weapons to harm others.
Other sentators supporting the bill are listed here. Congressional representatives supporting it are listed here. If you don't know your Congressional representative, you can search easily by zip code at this page.
We at Our Family Coalition are working every day to increase representation of LGBT families. In California and with national partners, we keep raising the visibility of our families and advocating for sane and inclusive policies, at a time when our love and fierce advocacy continues to be more necessary than ever. You can help contribute to this work today by donating what you can to Our Family Coalition.
Together we can make a difference.
Yours in solidarity,
1. Religious Freedom Restoration Act page at Protect Thy Neighbor, a project of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State: http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/religious-freedom-restoration-acts
2. "HHS Tells South Carolina It's Okay to Discriminate in Foster Care and Adoption," Mombian, January 24, 2019: https://www.mombian.com/2019/01/24/hhs-tells-south-carolina-its-okay-to-discriminate-in-foster-care-and-adoption/
3. Religious Exemption Laws, Movement Advancement Project (see "Services" tab): http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/religious_exemption_laws
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