Saturday, July 11, 2015

United Church of Christ's General Synod 2015 Passes Resolution Opposing Anti-LGBT Religious Exemption Laws

As LGBT people continue to make strides socially and politically, various religious institutions have sought additional "religious exemption" laws. It doesn't matter if a state or a community passes an anti-discrimination ordinance that prohibits bias on the basis of sexual orientation. They want the ability to discriminate without repercussion.

My own United Church of Christ just recently wrapped up General Synod 2015, a national gathering of UCC leaders and members. General Synod is known for reviewing and passing a variety of resolutions, usually coming from the progressive end of the Christian stick.

Case in point, General Synod 2015 passed a resolution encouraging local churches and members to speak out against "religious exemption" laws:
The resolution calls on all congregations and settings of the church to faithfully advocate against any legislative effort or executive order that attempts to "establish a broad 'religious exemption' to laws protecting the equal rights of persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression," according to the text of the resolution. Such laws threaten to "rob persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression of the security that they will not be denied services, employment or even a place to live on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or marital relationship."

"Essentially, 'religious exemption' is 'Plan B' for the opposition to marriage equality in the United States," says Andy Lang, the Open and Affirming Coalition's executive director. "By establishing broad religious exemptions, they hope to limit the application not only of marriage equality but of any existing or future laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations or adoption."
As you can guess, there is a faction within the UCC who is upset over this resolution.

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