Main | Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Utah Unthink Tank: Give Discrimination Exemptions To All People Of Faith

Salt Lake City's new anti-LGBT discrimination law exempts churches and religious groups. The Sutherland Institute wants that exemption extended to anybody who believes in God, which would effectively gut the law from having any use at all.
The ordinances protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment. Sutherland Institute president Paul Mero says churches and some organizations have exemptions. The exemptions are for religious freedom and expressive association. That means a church corporation doesn't have to hire someone who is gay if they don't want to. Expressive association means the company doesn't have to hire someone who does not fit into their culture - for example, Mero says Equality Utah doesn't have to hire him. Mero wants the Legislature to extend or expand those exemptions to adherents of a church or a religion. "Frankly, there are just people of faith out there, doesn't matter what religion you belong to, that own private property or own their own businesses, who want a certain culture in their apartment complex or in their employment, who aren't protected by the exemptions in the ordinances," he says.
Mero: "If a gay employee or gay tenant can unilaterally invoke the protections of these ordinances, unconditionally, it is only fair and reasonable that a person of faith should be allowed to unilaterally invoke the same laws' protections, unconditionally, just as that person's church is allowed to do."

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