All eyes have been on Congress as members worked to avert a government shutdown that would be devastating for so many Americans, especially the most vulnerable in our communities. Instead of coming together to clear this important hurdle, some members of the House of Representatives exploited the impasse by trying to insert anti-LGBTQ+ provisions into the federal budget. The measures they proposed would strip lifesaving health care from hundreds of thousands of trans people across the country, give license to discriminate, and ban pride flags from federal government sites, among other proposals.
A core part of Interfaith Alliance’s mission is to transform the dangerous narrative that faith communities oppose LGBTQ+ equality, particularly as so many of the discriminatory policies are put forth under the false guise of religious freedom. That’s why we mobilized immediately and led the faith fight on Capitol Hill to oppose these dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ provisions.
In partnership with Keshet and the National LGBTQ Task Force, we secured support from 90 national and local groups representing diverse faith traditions and delivered a joint letter to leaders in Congress, arguing that the anti-LGBTQ+ measures undermine our beliefs and our nation’s founding principles of equality. At the same time, we took to Capitol Hill and coordinated faith-based outreach to members on both sides of the aisle, alerting representatives and their staff to the dangers of the anti-LGBTQ+ amendments and explaining that the vast majority of religious groups oppose discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
The reception from both Republican and Democratic offices was overwhelmingly positive, many were unaware of the riders and amendments, and many of them were grateful to hear a faith perspective. And our efforts translated into a major victory: in the end, every office that we met with voted to oppose one of the discriminatory amendments we raised – though we will have to keep up our efforts over the next several months to ensure that all anti-LGBTQ+ provisions remain out of the final budget
This success proves what we’ve always known: when people of faith and conscience band together to fight for their values and insist that all people be treated with dignity and respect, we have the power to make a real difference. These are the conversations that we need to be having, and they will pave the way for future victories down the road. Interfaith Alliance is determined to keep leading the faith fight on Capitol Hill, and to make sure policymakers know that no matter our tradition, the faith community does not discriminate.