Faith Voices Against LGBTQ Discrimination

Millions of Americans nationwide belong to faith groups, and hold faith as a cornerstone of their lives, a lens for them to better understand the world they live in and how they contribute to that world. Many people of faith believe in the basic tenets of equality, fairness, and inclusion, and it is these people who are helping to lead the conversation about why protecting LGBTQ people matters, and how their support is because of their faith, not in spite of it.

3,000+ clergy have expressed support in “friend-of-the-court” briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning:

The Freedom to Marry

In the case Obergefell v. Hodges in March 2015, clergy came together and said: "Requiring equal treatment for different- and same-sex couples with respect to civil marriage will, in fact, reaffirm the religious liberty fundamental to this nation’s founding identity." Read the Brief

Dignity for Transgender Students

In the case Gloucester County School Board v. Gavin Grimm in March 2016, clergy came together to declare: "Amici ... are united in believing that the fundamental human dignity shared by all persons requires treating transgender students in a manner consistent with their gender identity." Read the Brief

Equal Service for LGBTQ People

In the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in October 2017, clergy wrote: "It is morally wrong ... to permit blanket discrimination in the public marketplace for goods and services based on the personal religious beliefs of merchants with respect to same-sex couples’ rights and relationships." Read the Brief

Why People of Faith Support Nondiscrimination Protections

For many Americans, values like treating others fairly, equally and with respect are rooted in faith and religious teachings. Increasingly, people of faith are leading the conversation about why protecting LGBTQ people matters – and why their faith calls them to support LGBTQ freedom.

The Golden Rule

“Do to others what you would do to you” is a basic tenet present in most faiths, and one that people of faith take to heart. Their own personal beliefs compel them to stand up for LGBTQ people and state that they deserve protection. LGBTQ people are our friends and neighbors, and people of faith understand that no one should be denied the opportunity to make a living, have a home, or be served in a public space.

The Importance of Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is one of our nation’s fundamental values. That’s why it’s already protected by the Constitution. That freedom doesn’t give any of us the right to impose our beliefs onto others, or to discriminate. People of faith understand and believe in this, and many are speaking out against bills that would allow discrimination against our neighbors based on a person’s beliefs. They understand that such discrimination opens the door for others to be discriminated against in the future.

Our Partners Advocating for LGBTQ Freedom in Faith Communities

Freedom For All Americans has partnered with several faith leaders and organizations across the country to bring faith voices into the movement to win nondiscrimination for all. These voices are an important component of our work, and have the ability to reach people that may not otherwise hear about why this work is so important and relevant.

"My faith tells me that discrimination against persons, even those with whom I disagree, is wrong. If someone, whose political, social, or religious views I did not share, came to my house, I would surely offer them a cake and a comfortable cup of tea, as Jesus would do. So why would I not sell them the same?”

Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL • Co-Executive Director of the National Coalition of American Nuns

“I believe God created LGBT as well as heterosexual persons… all people should be welcomed and it’s a violation of my core faith values to discriminate in God’s name. For us to attach God to discrimination is a direct violation of scripture.”

Reverend Dr. Larry Bethune • Senior Pastor, University Baptist Church of Austin, TX

“As a Muslim, Arab, and American, I believe this case extends far beyond a gross violation of civil liberties. This opens the door for blatant bigotry and fear mongering toward already marginalized communities. We choose to fight back using the power of love and compassion, two values we can all endorse.”

Iman M. Odah • MPA & Co-Founder, Meet the Middle East

“God created all of us equally with no qualifications. Gay and lesbian people were once denied these protections because of who they love. Now we must all stand by our transgender friends and neighbors to ensure that they too are protected against discrimination.”

Rabbi Devon A. Lerner, DD, MSW • Longtime Faith Leader in Massachusetts

"When I hear “religious liberty” used as a reason for discrimination against LGBTQ persons today, I hear the echoes of racial discrimination and I speak up for those being discriminated against, not for those defending their discrimination. As the saying goes, even the devil can quote Scripture.”

Brian McLaren • Author, Speaker and Former Pastor

“The term ‘religious freedom’ is really about religious exemption. As a Christian pastor, I believe Rabbi Jesus opened doors. And as a black woman, I recognize that our freedoms are interconnected. The rights of our LGBT siblings, our Muslim family, African-Americans, and refugees are all interrelated. As Christians, we are called to work for the marginalized and celebrate the divine in each person.”

Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis • Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church of New York, NY

“Religious Freedom is not a license to discriminate. As people from multiple faith backgrounds we are on the side of love, compassion, equality and opportunity. We will not stand for hate- especially in our name.”

Rev. Amanda Henderson • Executive Director of The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

“Religion, at it’s best, serves all people, in all places at all times with compassion and love. This leaves no room for discrimination – especially discrimination cloaked in the name of faith.”

Michael Hidalgo • Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church

"As a faith leader and a believer in the beloved community, it’s incomprehensible to me how anyone, much less the owner of a business that serves the public, could refuse to treat someone the same way as they’d treat anyone else."

Rev. Dr. Terence Leathers • Pastor of Mt. Vernon Christian Church in Clayton, NC

Stories of People of Faith Who Support LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

Freedom for All Americans is collecting stories from people of faith across the country who support fair treatment for LGBTQ Americans. It’s time to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination once and for all. Your voice and your story matters – please share, and read more below:

Are You a Person of Faith? Share Your Story

An Advocate for LGBTQ Older Adults Draws on His Faith

Randy Block • Royal Oak, MI

Finding Strength in their Faith, a North Carolina Couple Navigates One Partner’s Transition

Sean & Sarah Caroll • Durham, NC

Drawing on Conservative Activism and Faith Background, Pennsylvania Man Pushes Toward LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

Randy Orso • Hawley, PA

Pastor Urges Missourians to Follow the Golden Rule

Pastor Brian Jenkins & Kelly Jenkins • Springfield, MO

Reverend Ed Bacon: “We Are Created to Be In Community”

Reverend Ed Bacon • Birmingham, AL

His Baptist Upbringing Taught Him that God Loves All

Reverend Doctor Larry Betheune • Austin, Texas

Jewish Community Organizer Says Religious Support is Key to All Nondiscrimination Movements

Bennet Wilcox • Baltimore, MD

How This Openly Gay Student Body President Helped Foster LGBT Inclusion at Notre Dame

Bryan Ricketts • Notre Dame, IN

Coaching through Understanding: Retired Pastor and His Wife, a Realtor, Speak Out on the LGBT Community

Carl & Deila Mangold • Phoenix, Arizona

A 10 Year Journey to Tell Her Own Story

Ja'briel Walthour • Savannah, Georgia

Following Leadership in Marriage Ruling, Kentucky Couple Supports LGBT Catholics With Pilgrimage

Greg Bourke • Louisville, KY

North Carolinian Religious Leader: “Religion Does Not Justify Discrimination”

Reverend Dr. Terence Leathers • Clayton, NC

My Transgender Daughter is a Beloved Child of God

Jamie Bruesehoff • Vernon, NJ

Father in Mormon Family Shares How Two Sons’ ‘Coming Out’ Experiences Propelled Him to Understanding

Bryce Cook • Mesa, AZ

Civil Rights Leader Fighting to Weed Out Seeds of LGBT Discrimination in Georgia

Francys Johnson • Atlanta, GA

After Testifying for Her Transgender Son in Utah, Conservative Mormon Mother Stands Up for Transgender Equality Nationwide

Neca Allgood • Syracuse, UT

Q&A: Why This Texas Pastor Is Standing Against Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Dr. Dan De Leon • College Station, TX

Mother of a Transgender Child in Georgia: “You Are As You Were Meant to Be”

Amanda Dewis • Johns Creek, Georgia

Chair of Notre Dame’s LGBT Alumni Group Calls for Greater Inclusion in the Catholic Church

Jack Bergen • Boston, MA

Pastor in Alaska Shares His Journey Toward Acceptance and Support for LGBTQ Equal Treatment

Martin Eldred • Eagle River, AK

Pennsylvania Republican Encourages Fellow Conservatives to Speak Out for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections

Chad Hussein • Lansdale, PA

Nebraskan Faith Leader: Let’s Preach Radical Inclusivity and Love

Dylan Dell-Haro • Beatrice, NE

Conservative Mom in Missouri Shares Her Hopes and Dreams for Her Transgender Daughter

Debi Jackson • Kansas City, MO

Lifelong Detroit Resident Advocates for LGBTQ Elders in Michigan

Pat Baldwin • Detroit, MI

Catholics Call for Greater LGBT Inclusion Within the Church

Stories on the LGBT Movement in Catholicism from Across the Country

Following Supreme Court Delay, Transgender Faith Leader in North Carolina Pushes Toward Continued Discussion

Rev. Mykal Slack • Durham, NC

Christian Pastor Says Jesus’ Example of ‘Peace and Justice’ Drives His Support for LGBT Equality

Rev. Salvatore Sapienza • Douglas, MI

A Belief in Fairness, Rooted in Their Faith

The Turners • Laramie, Wyoming