Religious Exemptions to Nondiscrimination Laws Harm Us All

WHEREAS, religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution as a fundamental right for those who practice any faith or no faith at all;

WHEREAS, our Constitution, as the highest law in the country, provides the best and only protections of our religious freedom necessary;

WHEREAS, LGBTQ people are the top targets for hate crimes in the country with a more than double chance of being a victim of bias-related violence than any other group;

WHEREAS, the opponents of LGBTQ equality have tried for decades to use religion as a weapon and a wedge to stall the march toward progress for our community and to create a license to discriminate;

WHEREAS, so-called “Religious Freedom” laws are actually cynical attempts to specifically target LGBTQ people for discrimination by disguising discrimination as religious liberty;

WHEREAS, almost all of these attempts to exempt religious beliefs from nondiscrimination laws have broad consequences far beyond the LGBTQ community, including women, people of color, and those of differing faiths;

WHEREAS, the broad reach of these laws allow women to be denied birth control or emergency contraception, people of differing faiths to not be served in a restaurant or bar, or for government officials to refuse services to LGBTQ people or any other group their “sincerely held religious belief” would suggest;

WHEREAS, in North Carolina the interests of corporations and bigots aligned in the form of HB2, which created religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws and also preempted municipal governments from passing pro-worker legislation, clearly demonstrating that enemies of working people are also enemies of LGBTQ people;

WHEREAS, Jeff Session’s Department of Justice created a Religious Liberty Task Force, with the sole purposely seemingly to license discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities;

WHEREAS, the core principles of the labor movement require us to combat discrimination anywhere it is found and to stand in solidarity with those who are demanding dignity and respect at work, in our unions, or in the public square;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Pride at Work opposes and will fight all attempts to carve out special exemptions from our nondiscrimination laws based on religious belief;

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Pride at Work urges all of our union family to reject and fight these cynical attempts to divide us and promote discrimination;

Submitted by Shane Larson, Pride at Work Co-Vice President and CWA Legislative Director