Members of Congress Reintroduce ‘Do No Harm Act’

February 28, 2019 • 6:00 pm

WASHINGTON – Today Congressional lawmakers introduced the “Do No Harm Act,” a bill that would reaffirm that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act can’t be used to inflict harm upon others.

Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement:

“Freedom of religion is a value that all Americans cherish, and that’s why it’s a cornerstone of our Constitution. But there is an alarming trend across the country by anti-LGBTQ activists to turn this protection into a license to deny LGBTQ Americans service in public places, to deny children in state care forever homes with LGBTQ parents, and other unintended consequences. The ‘Do No Harm Act’ reaffirms Congress’ original intent with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was to protect religious minorities, not to permit the use of religion as a means for denying Americans their fundamental freedoms. We thank these lawmakers for their efforts to advance fairness and equal treatment for all.”

The “Do No Harm Act” comes at a critical time in the fight for LGBTQ equality. In recent years, anti-LGBTQ activists have sought to cite religion in order to allow a broad license to discriminate. In recent years, anti-LGBTQ activists have passed a wave of state laws that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families. Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia all have such laws, five of which passed in the last two years. Next week, Tennessee lawmakers will consider a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills. On the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a  waiver  to allow South Carolina faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to turn away Jewish, Catholic, LGBTQ, and other foster parent and volunteer applicants who are not of the same faith as the agency.

The “Do No Harm Act” would ensure that no one can seek religious exemptions from laws guaranteeing equal rights, and would specifically limit the use of RFRA in cases involving discrimination, child labor and abuse, wages and collective health care, public accommodations, and social services provided through government contract.

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