Republicans lawmakers put forward a pro-LGBTQ legislation on Friday that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, commercial credit and jury duty, while also protecting religious organisations and churches that uphold traditional beliefs about marriage and sexuality.
The so-called “Fairness for All” bill was introduced by Republican Chris Stewart and eight other Republican legislators, with no Democrats signing onto the legislation.
It is the first time that an LGBTQ civil rights bill is introduced by conservative lawmakers.
“All of God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation or religion, deserve dignity, respect, and the right to pursue happiness,” said Stewart. The Utah congressman further added that “this legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbours.”
The “Fairness for All” bill reflects the culmination of efforts to bridge the divide in modern American politics that splits the two typically warring groups: LGBTQ people and religious conservatives.
“Religious freedom and LGBT rights don’t have to be in a lose-lose battle for protections in America”, commented Stewart on the press.
The bill offers an alternative to Equality Act, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, but was blocked by the Senate and it’s unlikely to be voted upon soon.
Although there are already federal laws protecting citizens from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, and disability, queer people in the US remain unprotected from discriminatory practices both in many US states and at a federal level.