This bill would allow people to opt out of anti-discrimination laws
Extends beyond churches to individuals, businesses and others
Nadine Smith, our executive director, issued this statement about a legislative bill filed today (H.B. 401) that would give individuals broad latitude to disregard non-discrimination laws if they conflicted their personal moral beliefs.
"Freedom of religion is fundamental -- so important it is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution as it should be.
But this extreme bill doesn’t affirm existing law; it goes much further than that. In addition to churches, it would allow individuals, for-profit businesses, health care providers, non-profit adoption agencies and others to discriminate against anyone they want, for personal reasons.
Legal experts say this bill is even worse than the disastrous Indiana bill that sparked a nationwide backlash. Indiana’s governor called a hasty special session to repeal that costly mistake.
Not only would passing this bill tell the rest of the country that Florida is a mean-spirited, discriminatory state. It would also allow a healthcare provider to deny reproductive and contraceptive services to women; retailers to refuse service to LGBT people; a day care to refuse admittance of a child with LGBT parents, and many other outcomes we believe most people would find deeply unfair.
At Equality Florida we believe that freedom of religion is important. We also believe that most religions care more about loving your neighbor than discriminating against him. Faith leaders of all denominations have stood with us because they agree.
We look forward to working with the faith community and our many other allies to defeat this horrible No good bill."