Apr 29 2015
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams First National Company to Join Campaign
WASHINGTON – In response to the ongoing national debate surrounding so-called religious freedom bills in state legislatures, Interfaith Alliance has launched the “Everyone Only” campaign. The organization is asking businesses to place signs in their windows declaring “We Serve Everyone Only.” Local businesses across the country have begun to display the signs and home furnishings brand Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has signed on as the first national retailer to display the signs. In the coming weeks more than 20,000 signs will be mailed to Interfaith Alliance supporters across the country to share with local businesses.
“Following a national outcry, Indiana and Arkansas attempted to fix their flawed bills. Not surprisingly, the changes did not go nearly far enough to prevent the enabling of discrimination,” said Interfaith Alliance executive director, Rabbi Jack Moline. “Through Everyone Only, we will keep the pressure on leaders in Indiana, Arkansas and any other state seeking to pass this kind of flawed legislation. These signs in communities around the country will symbolize our united commitment to basic civil rights.”
States across the country, from Louisiana to Michigan, are considering new legislation that could allow people to use religious ideology to discriminate against and jeopardize the rights of American citizens. At the same time, the LGBT community, religious minorities and other vulnerable populations are working to understand what the compromises reached in Indiana and Arkansas – and similar legislation already on the books around the nation – mean for their rights. The simple reality is these laws are not needed in the first place. Businesses doing business in the public sphere, using public utilities, roads, police and other services have to be willing to serve everyone.
Interfaith Alliance encourages communities and business to make a commitment to remain open to all, in spite of any legal right to discriminate. “Everyone Only” is a campaign for business owners and community members willing to build an inclusive and welcoming environment. Already Everyone Only signs have been hung in storefronts across the country from the OpenTable Café in Owasso, Oklahoma to Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
Interfaith Alliance takes special pride in the support of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, long-time leaders in LGBT advocacy. Mitchell Gold, co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and long time ally of Interfaith Alliance, said, “I grew up in the 1960’s and remember all too well the signs that said ‘we serve whites only’ and the other visible signs of discrimination against African-Americans, minority religious groups and more. This sign is a signal to our customers and employees that we embrace serving everyone. If a gay or straight couple, or individual, walks in our store to make their house a home, we stand ready to serve them…equally!” Gold went on to add, “The people who ask for or support these discriminatory bills continue to depend on outdated and misguided teachings to justify their prejudice. The signs in our windows also mean ‘Enough!’ Too much suffering and harm has been caused in the past to innocent people because of these teachings that are not relevant in a modern and fair society.”
Learn more about Everyone Only at http://www.everyone-only.org
Apr 28 2015
WASHINGTON – Following today’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges – in which Interfaith Alliance joined 25 religious organizations in an amicus brief urging the court to overturn state same-sex marriage bans – Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“People of faith and good conscience across the country have spoken – the time for full marriage equality is now. It is my hope and expectation that, following today’s arguments, the Supreme Court will soon validate that growing consensus. Ensuring marriage equality across the country would be a landmark victory, not only for civil rights but for religious freedom as well. Every day, clergy of all kinds solemnize wedding ceremonies for opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike. Some of those ceremonies are given full legal recognition, while others are denied equal status. This inequality is the result of the blatantly unconstitutional establishment of religious doctrine as law. Our government must end this discrimination and uphold the civil rights of all Americans.
“While I am eager for the Supreme Court to rule, the decision will be only the beginning. Every faith community will adhere to its unique understanding of marriage, sexuality and spirituality within its fellowship. But every American must join in support of equal rights and religious liberty. Marriage equality is no threat to religious freedom – the real threat to the First Amendment comes from those who would seek to use their beliefs as weapons against the rights of others. As we await the Court’s final word on the law, we can begin that essential campaign to open minds and hearts to the rights of all.”
Apr 09 2015
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, President Obama responded to a “We the People” petition by announcing both his opposition to so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBT youth and his support of efforts to ban it. Following this important step in the government’s efforts to prevent the abuse of LGBT youth and protect their rights, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“The president’s call to ban so-called conversion therapy is a major victory not only for the safety and equal rights of LGBT youth, but for religious freedom in America. Too many purveyors of these dangerous and harmful treatments have used religious language to peddle their false services and prey on families of faith. The president’s announcement should be a reminder to religious communities and leaders across the country of the dangers of this kind of ‘therapy.’”
“By rejecting conversion therapy, we take an important step toward fully accepting and embracing the presence of the divine in all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People of all faiths have a responsibility to reject abusive pseudo-psychology and abandon practices that invalidate the identities of our LGBT children. Time and again we have witnessed the tragedies that such disrespect and disregard can cause. President Obama’s words provide hope for those young people enduring this mistreatment while we continue the important work of abolishing this insidious practice.”
Apr 02 2015
WASHINGTON – Following the Indiana State Legislature’s proposed “fix” to the so-called Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Rabbi Jack Moline released this statement:
“The proposed fix to the Indiana Religious Freedom Act may be step in the right direction, but it is a step that does not go nearly far enough. We have yet to see a legislative proposal from Indiana, or any other state, that does more to protect religious freedom than the First Amendment, which has successfully safeguarded religious freedom in America throughout our history.
“This legislation, even with the proposed changes, still reflects a partisan, sectarian ideology rather than any urgent need to protect religious freedom in Indiana. Governor Pence and the Indiana State Legislature should stop asking how they can manipulate America’s guarantee of religious freedom, and start asking how they can protect the rights of all Hoosiers, people of all faiths and the LGBT community alike.”