Rep. Stewart reintroduces legislation to protect religious freedom, LGBT individuals

Local Politics

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, questions Ambassador Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former official at the National Security Council, as they testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – Utah Congressman Chris Stewart has reintroduced the Fairness for All Act.

According to a Friday release, the 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,” Stewart’s office says.

“It is hard to really love our neighbors when we are fighting with them over whose rights are more important. This country can accommodate both civil liberties for LGBT individuals & religious freedom. We have wasted enough time, energy, and money fighting over who deserves which legal protections. It is time to define the federal protections for our LGBT and religious friends and neighbors,” Rep. Stewart says.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, who recently reacted to a bill targeting transgender youth, issued a statement in support of the legislation.

 “I’m grateful for Rep. Stewart’s work to find a nuanced and good faith policy that both protects religious freedom and the rights of LGBTQ individuals to be free from discrimination. This is the type of commonsense solution that Utah does best.”

A Friday release says the Fairness for All is the largest expansion of religious freedom and LGBT civil rights under federal law in a generation.

“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,” the release says.

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. 

The act protects LGBT individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and in a place of public accommodation. It also significantly expands the definition of a public accommodation under federal law.

Further, the bill protects the tax-exempt status of religious organizations, colleges, and universities while protecting the rights of colleges and universities like BYU to uphold their religious standards without jeopardizing the ability of their students to get Pell Grants.

“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,” the release says.

Futher, the legislation puts the interests of needy children first by expanding adoption and foster care by including all qualified potential parents.

Among the legislations cosponsors are Representatives Burgess Owens and Blake Moore, both of Utah.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...