Anti-Discrimination Bill To Require LGBTQSTP Equality in Religious Institutions
POLITICS 10/06/2039 11:21 PM ET
Anti-Discrimination Bill To Require LGBTQSTP Equality in Religious Institutions

Jennifer Aldinho
Religion Editor, Huntington Courier

CC0 1.0 Image by Kyle Killam | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 CL Society 266: A nurse at home by Francisco Osorio | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Equality and justice for all.
Yesterday, Rep. Jonathon Corneo (D-NY) tabled one of the most important bills in the fight for human rights in this country.

Continuing a long-standing personal fight, Corneo, who is gay, introduced H.R. 64 - known as the Right To Worship Act. The bill would give equality to worshippers, regardless of their gender identity, sexuality, species status, poly arrangement or transability.

Among the requirements of the bill:

- That LGBTQSPT people should be permitted to worship as their fellow worshippers do
- That they shall not be subjected to the practise of "shunning" for being LGBTQSPT
- That they shall not be required to "repent" of the "sin" of being LGBTQSPT
- That they shall be permitted to serve in any position of ministry (however called) or leadership, without regard to their status as LGBTQSPT
- That where a religious institution performs marriages, it shall do so without regard to the LGBTQSPT status of any party

In short, the bill cuts down the last form of widespread legal discrimination in the country.

Some states are already ahead of Congress on the issue: Vermont enacted similar legislation in 2027 (amended to include polyamorous, trans-species and transabled citizens), California passed a bill targeting religious discrimination against LGBT people in 2029, and Illinois is considering its own version of H.R. 64 inspiringly called the Free Church Act.

That won't stop the usual groups (and states) from protesting, even if the bill doesn't pass (it likely will). And if it does pass, expect to see a Supreme Court challenge.

But none of that really matters. What does, is that finally an entire sector of society, which has long regarded itself as a protected class, will have to consider that maybe, just maybe, they've been wrong about their so-called right to discriminate, leaving tens of millions of Americans feeling unworthy, unwanted and unloved.

Maybe they've been wrong about forcing people to "repent". Remember, church and parachurch organizations were behind the hideous practice of gay conversion therapy.

We don't know how many lives and relationships have been destroyed by certain religious institutions' need to make others the target of their hatred. But Corneo, with his usual bravery and customary dignity, is rightfully leading the way in the charge for full rights in the religious sphere for minorities in this country.

His personal autobiography, My Share, details his painful exclusion from the Baptist church he grew up in once he was outed as being gay and in an open relationship.

His courage, and the courage of those like him, is all we need to finally stand up to the bigotry of the self-righteous.

I'm told votes are already being whipped. Let's pray it passes.
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