Here is a taste of Rauch’s piece:
For religious and faith-based organizations, the House version of the Equality Act is toxic, because it overrides religious-liberty protections granted in 1993. More broadly, they fear that both law and secular culture are on a path to equating traditional religious teachings about sexuality to racism.
Yet compromise could be achieved by packaging LGBTQ civil rights protections with relatively narrow exemptions for religious objectors. Many states have done this — including Utah, in a 2015 compromise among LGBTQ rights groups, conservative state legislators and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). More recently, a coalition of faith-based groups — including such heavy hitters as the LDS church, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the National Association of Evangelicals — joined with the American Unity Fund, a center-right LGBTQ advocacy group, to propose such a compromise, called the Fairness for All Act.
The Fairness for All Act has too little Democratic support to pass, and the Equality Act has too little Republican support. As written, both are dead on arrival in the Senate. But amended, the Equality Act could become a vehicle for bipartisan Senate negotiations that could add tailored religious exemptions. That kind of bill would have a real shot at winning 60 or more Senate votes and a majority in the House.
Members of the Fairness for All coalition are eager to negotiate, but they need a partner. Congressional Democrats will not support a bill over vigorous objections from LGBTQ and civil rights groups. So the question becomes: Will those groups abandon their purist positions and come to the bargaining table?
To be fair, their earlier reluctance to compromise is understandable. With no chance of Senate passage, why should they have negotiated with themselves? Why should LGBTQ people seeking to rent homes, patronize businesses and adopt children be burdened with religious carve-outs that don’t apply to other protected groups?
But now, not only is Senate passage possible; there also has been a sea change among some religious groups. As one member of the Fairness for All coalition told me, “In the religious communities, in part because of acculturation and in part because of generational shift, I think there is a real openness to trying to work this out that was not there a decade ago.” Another member said, “We hope that President Biden will be the president who signs comprehensive LGBT rights legislation as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. We just fundamentally think it’s the right thing to do. We believe it’s what our savior would have us do.”
Read the entire piece here.
If Joe Biden really cares about “unity,” he could get behind the Fairness for All Act.
Here some of my past posts on this act:
Shirley Hoogstra of the CCCU explains Fairness for All (December 11, 2019)