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Stewart Protects Religious Freedom and LGBT Individuals

Today, Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02) introduces the Fairness for All Act (FFA), H.R. 5331. This legislation aims to protect everyone’s dignity in public spaces. It harmonizes religious freedom and LGBT rights by amending the Civil Rights Act, protecting religious freedom in the workplace, protecting the rights of LGBT individuals, and preserving 1st amendment rights.

“All of God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation or religion, deserve dignity, respect, and the right to pursue happiness. This legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbors.” – Rep. Chris Stewart

Statements of Support:

 “The Seventh-day Adventist Church endorses this balanced and principled piece of legislation because it affirms two essential components of our belief system: honoring God and loving our neighbor.”– Seventh-day Adventist Church

"The Fairness for All Act ensures robust federal protections for the free and open exercise of religion and establishes, for the first time, basic civil rights for LGBT Americans. Having spent years working across the country to secure religious freedom rights, I commend Rep. Stewart on his drafting a smart, balanced bill that extends basic rights to LGBT Americans while providing the strongest possible religious freedom protections. We urge Congress to pass this historic bill." – Tim Schultz, Religious Freedom Advocate, President, 1st Amendment Partnership

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commends the introduction of federal legislation that seeks to preserve religious freedom and protect LGBT individuals from discrimination. We’re grateful for the leadership of Utah Representative Chris Stewart and other congressional supporters of this cause. The nation is more united when diverse individuals and groups can work cooperatively to advance sound policy. Alongside other religious organizations and denominations and important leaders of the LGBT community, the Church endorses this balanced approach that fosters greater fairness for all.” – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The Center for Public Justice is committed to seeking solutions founded in principled pluralism–solutions that respect the rights and beliefs of all, while not limiting a person’s or organization’s core convictions “The Fairness for All legislation does just that. We urge Congress to pass this legislation that offers a way forward so that all citizens, regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation, can live side-by-side as good neighbors.” – Stephanie Summers, CEO, Center for Public Justice

“The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) supports Fairness for All as a solution-based approach that addresses the cultural tension surrounding religious freedom and LGBT rights. Without compromising the orthodox Christian convictions held by Christian colleges and universities, Fairness for All underscores that all persons are created in the image of God, implying dignity, value, and worth. This approach represents civic pluralism at its best, in a society where people with differences can live alongside each other with respect and understanding. The CCCU urges Congress to pass this bill, which would balance the rights of both religious and LGBT communities in a comprehensive, balanced, and enduring way.” – Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

American Unity Fund fully endorses Fairness for All. We know this is the right solution for such a complex problem that urgently needs to be solved. Fairness for All acknowledges that we live in a diverse society. We believe basic civil rights should be guaranteed for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, or religion. Those rights can be fully protected while safeguarding religious freedom. Fairness for All is a lasting and balanced approach that will advance more freedom and liberty for all Americans, codifying significant protections for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We urge the House to pass this historic legislation and prove that both sides of the aisle can find common ground and mutual respect for one another.” – American Unity Fund

More about “Fairness for All”:

FFA is the largest expansion of religious freedom and LGBT civil rights under federal law in a generation. It continues what began in Utah and builds upon existing protections for both religious and LGBT Americans in federal, state, and local law.  

No American should lose their home or job simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. All religious persons should be free to live, work or serve their community in ways that are consistent with their faith.

FFA preserves the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so it can continue to protect the First Amendment right of all persons to freely exercise their religion. 

FFA protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing. It also prohibits LGBT discrimination in a place of public accommodation and significantly expands the definition of a public accommodation under federal law. 

This bill protects the tax-exempt status of religious organizations and religious colleges and universities. It also protects the right of religious colleges and universities—like Brigham Young University, Bethel University and Catholic University—to uphold their religious standards without jeopardizing the ability of their students to get Pell Grants or of their professors to compete for federal research contracts.

FFA protects the owners of small businesses whose religious and moral principles prevent them from participating in activities that are contrary to their conscience and beliefs.

It protects LGBT Americans from discrimination in jury selection, credit and federally assisted programs. 

Lastly, this legislation protects religious adoption and foster care agencies so they can continue to serve vulnerable children and willing couples, while at the same time ensuring the ability of LGBT persons to adopt and foster children too.  Putting the interests of needy children first, the FFA Act expands adoption and foster care by including all qualified potential parents.

Coalition support: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, American Unity Fund, Center for Public Justice, 1st Amendment Partnership, The Seventh-day Adventist Church, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, and others.     

Cosponsors: Fred Upton (MI-06), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rob Bishop (UT-01), John Curtis (UT-03), Mark Amodei (NV-02), David Joyce (OH-14), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Mike Simpson (ID-02).


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