Republican lawmakers on Dec. 6 introduced the ‘Fairness for All Americans’ Act in Congress. The bill represents support for anti-discrimination protections against LGBT Americans. It also represents a remarkable advance from voices of religious organizations that have come to share the view that discrimination against any American in the workplace, in housing, in public spaces is wrong and that we all deserve the same protections under the law. We are gratified to see this step forward.
However, while the bill bans some forms of anti-LGBTQ discrimination it contains unacceptable carve outs for religious exemptions that could allow discrimination in the name of religious beliefs.
This year, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance launched an unprecedented LGBT religious acceptance campaign to promote healing and reconciliation in the Asian American community. NQAPIA and religious leaders stand together in response to the bill:
“We are delighted that God’s grace of enlightenment has come upon the backers of this bill. That they join us in recognizing that we are all God’s children and deserve to be protected and receive the same dignity and respect that we all enjoy under the law. Too many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Americans have suffered discrimination for simply being who they are. God, Shiva, Allah, the Buddha, and Jesus teach us that we must strive for justice.
But the love of God, Shiva, Allah, and the Buddha does not have exceptions. Likewise, anti-discrimination laws should not either. While the bill is a commendable recognition, the more comprehensive LGBTQ Equality Act, which has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a bipartisan majority, would ensure clear and equal protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people throughout daily life while expanding protections for communities of color, people of faith, and women.
We look forward to a continuing dialogue to address these continuing issues and bring equal protections to all of our people.
On behalf of
Rev. Jeanelle N. Ablola, Pine United Methodist Church, San Francisco, CA
Rev. Israel I. Alvaran, Reconciling Ministries Network, Oakland, CA
Rev. Paul Cho, First United Methodist Church of Tucson, AZ
Rev. Dr. Theresa Cho, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA
Rev. Danilo Cortez, Estuary Space, Los Angeles, CA
Rev. Dr. Kevin Doi, American Baptist, Diamond Bar, CA
Pastor Vicki Flippin, First & Summerfield United Methodist Church, New Haven, CT
Rev. Dr. Ken Fong, Senior Pastor (retired), Evergreen Baptist Church of LA, Rosemead, CA
Rev. Nestor S. Gerente, Wayside United Methodist Church, Lomita, CA
Rev. John Iwohara, Gardena Buddhist Church, CA
Rev. Jessica Kawamura, Wahiawa United Methodist Church, Wahiawa HI
Pastor May Lee, Grace Alive Fellowship, New York, NY
Rev. Roger Morimoto, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Palo Alto CA
Rev. Daniel Seunghyun Cho, Pastor of HA:N Church UMC, Westchester NY
Rev. Yusei Van, Great River Tendai Sangha, Washington DC
Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Church Wall Street, New York, NY
Revered Tuhina Verma Rasche, Sierra Pacific Synod, CA
Rev. Thomas Yang,United Methodist Church, WA
Dr. Raja Gopal Bhattar, Hindu Officiant and Leadership Consultant, Chicago, IL
Reverend Laura Mariko Cheifetz, Assistant Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, TN
Administrator Elaine Kaneshiro, Christ Church of Chicago, IL
Dr. Grace Y. Kao, Center Director, Claremont School of Theology, CA
Donald L. Hayashi, Sulphur Grove United Methodist Church, Huber Heights, OH
Dr. Liz Lin, Executive Director, Progressive Asian American Christians, Ann Arbor, MI
Karen & Glenn Murakami, Faith United Methodist Church, Torrance, CA
Sarah Ngu, Community Director, Forefront Brooklyn Church, NY
Serena Poon, Director of Family, Progressive Asian American Christians, San Jose, CA
Oneida Chi, Member, Network on Religion & Justice, San Francisco, CA
Aya Yabe, the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew laity, New York, NY
Glenn D. Magpantay, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance Executive Director
Minster Ophelia Hu Kinney, HopeGateWay and Reconciling Ministries Network, Portland, ME