ACLU on Civil Rights



Religious objections to GLBT services same as 1960s racism

We see today claims to a right to discriminate--by refusing to provide services to LGBT people--based on religious objections. For example: wedding service providers closing their doors to same-sex couples planning their weddings. While the situations may differ, one thing remains the same: Religion is being used as an excuse to discriminate.

Claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion is not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It's no different today.

Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to impose those beliefs on others.

Source: ACLU 2015-16 voting recommendation on RFRA vs LGBT , May 11, 2016

First Amendment doesn't include right to turn away LGBT

The House of Representatives, as well as leading anti-LGBT organizations, are pushing a bill--disingenuously titled the First Amendment Defense Act--that would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples. While this bill does nothing to protect individuals' rights under the First Amendment, its parade of horribles would:
Source: ACLU 2015-16 voting recommendation on FADA , Jul 20, 2015

Gay marriage bans deny rights to loving & committed couples

A federal judge in Utah struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the US Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process: "The state's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

The judge said that while he agreed with Utah that marriage has traditionally been left to regulation by the states: "The issue the court must address in this case is not who should define marriage, but the narrow question of whether Utah's current definition of marriage is permissible under the Constitution."

The ACLU of Utah filed an amicus brief in the case and legal director John Mejia said the organization was "thrilled" by the decision. "We think that it was a discriminatory law that only served to deny loving and committed couples the protection and dignity of marriage," he said

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, "Marriage & Utah laws" , Dec 20, 2013

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Page last updated: Sep 10, 2018