FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2021
Yunny Seo, [email protected]
Ohio Faith Leaders Urge Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to Support the Equality and Protect LGBTQ People from Discrimination
CINCINNATI, OHIO — Today, Ohio faith leaders — Rev. JM Triplett, Rev. Nicole Kelly, and Rev. David Meredith — called on Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to support the passage of the Equality Act, federal legislation that would modernize and improve our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, and people of all faiths at a press conference.
“My faith calls me to affirm and proclaim that all people – including LGBTQ people – are the beloved of God and are made by a creator who loves them completely, and inherently worthy of equal dignity and respect,” said Rev. JM Triplett, Faith and Justice Organizer of Equality Ohio. “We are all God’s children, and no one should face mistreatment because of who they are or who they love. Now is the time to update our federal laws to respect and uphold the sacred dignity and worth of all people.”
“We as faith leaders recognize the harm caused to our community when our country lacks the vital protections to ensure that no one is fired from a job, denied housing or refused service simply because of who they are or who they love. All of God’s children deserve these basic protections,” said Pastor Nicole Kelly of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. “I hope our senators will hear our call. We owe it to our LGBTQ siblings and neighbors to do everything in our power to pass the strongest possible nondiscrimination protections as soon as we can.”
“God does not discriminate,” said Rev. David Meredith of the Clifton United Methodist Church. “All of us should share in the protections that come from this country… Every person is a beloved child of God… [Senators Brown and Portman,] we trust you will act accordingly. The time has come for equal opportunity and equal responsibility.”
Participants shared personal stories and experiences from their faith journey, discussed the importance of enshrining the federal non-discrimination protections in the Equality Act, and made the religious case for LGBTQ equality. In addition, 250 faith voices from across Ohio signed an open letter endorsing the Equality Act and outlined the need for federal protections for LGBTQ people.
“As organizations working in diverse religious traditions throughout Ohio, we affirm the sacred dignity and worth of all human beings – for all are created equal, a reflection of the divine. Our faiths unite us in a moral obligation to treat others with the respect we desire for ourselves. Nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals will not harm religious liberty,” wrote the faith leaders in the open letter. “I’m proud to be a person of faith who supports lived and legal equality for all.”
The press conference and open letter are a part of a national faith week of action, during which faith leaders across the country are coming together to speak out about their support for LGBTQ+ equality and urge their senators to pass the Equality Act to codify federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
In endorsing the Equality Act, the faith leaders are joining the majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, and more than 600 organizations, including civil rights, education, health care, and faith-based organizations. More than 400 major U.S. businesses – including dozens of Fortune 500 companies – and more than 60 business associations have also publicly supported the federal legislation.
About the Equality Act
Currently, 29 states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Without the Equality Act, LGBTQ Americans remain vulnerable to being evicted from their homes, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, denied health care, or denied government services in a majority of states simply because of who they are. The Equality Act would provide clear, consistent non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across critical areas, including housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The Equality Act also extends protections to millions of women — who aren’t covered by some existing federal anti-discrimination laws — to ensure they don’t have to live in fear of harassment or discrimination. In addition, it modernizes public accommodations law to provide increased protections to people of color and people of all faiths.
Freedom & Opportunity For All is a national campaign advocating for the urgent passage of the Equality Act — historic federal legislation that would modernize and improve our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, and people of all faiths. The campaign — supported by hundreds of the nation’s top leaders in civil rights, faith, education, health care, and advocacy — is co-founded and led by 16 of the nation’s leading advocates for equality, including Center for American Progress; Equality Federation; Freedom for All Americans; GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders; GLSEN; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National LGBTQ Task Force; National Women’s Law Center; PFLAG National; SAGE; Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund; and The Trevor Project. More information can be found at www.PassTheEqualityAct.com.