Alliance Defending Freedom isn't the only legal organization that finds the "Fairness For All Act" problematic.
"ADF believes that all people have dignity and should be treated with respect," says attorney Greg Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). "Unfortunately, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws like Fairness for All do not satisfy this standard; they end up imposing enormous costs and burdens on a number of vulnerable populations, including people of faith who are involved in the business community, particularly those whose business involves the creation of messages or the participation in religiously meaningful events like weddings and marriages."
ADF represents a number of these people, including Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist mired in a legal battle over her decision not to participate in a same-sex wedding. Stutzman is a Christian and believes in traditional marriage.
"She serves all people, including people who identify as homosexual, but she's unwilling to assist, participate, help celebrate a same-sex wedding ceremony," says Baylor. "Fairness for All doesn't protect Barronelle. It doesn't protect her from the Washington state law under which she has been prosecuted, so Fairness for All is not a solution for Barronelle. And the problem is Fairness for All will create more circumstance like the one Barronelle has experienced."
According to Baylor, almost 30 states do not have sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination laws regarding places of businesses or places of public accommodation.
"In those states, people are free to not engage in messages with which they disagree," Baylor continues. "Fairness for All will change that and will compel people like Barronelle Stutzman to do so on threat of legal penalty."
There is an exemption for small employers, but Baylor calls that exemption "modest" and says it presupposes that if your business succeeds and grows, then you have to give up your fundamental rights.
As OneNewsNow has reported, Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah) says the Fairness for All Act (H.R. 5331), aims to protect everyone's dignity in public spaces. According to Stewart, the bill 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 First Amendment rights.
"This legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbors," says Stewart in a statement on his website.
Even so, the American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the legislation, saying it does not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.