CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart introduced a bill, which is cosponsored by Rep. Dave Joyce from Ohio, that would attempt to provide added protections to LGBTQ individuals while maintaining religious freedom.
One purpose of the Fairness for All Act is to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in public spaces, including at workplaces, housing facilities, and accommodations.
“All of God’s children, regardless of sexual orientation or religion, deserve dignity, respect, and the right to pursue happiness,” Stewart said. "This legislation allows us to settle the legal questions and get back to the business of loving our neighbors.”
Religious groups would be exempt from the anti-discrimination law.
During his announcement, Steward touted support for the bill from several religious groups and organizations.
The bill has not gone without opposition. More than a human rights groups submitted a joint statement expressing concern for the proposed legislation by calling it deceptive, saying in part: “The “Fairness for All” Act is anything but fair, and it certainly does not serve all of us. It is an affront to existing civil rights protections that protect people on the basis of race, sex, and religion and creates new, substandard protections for LGBTQ people with massive loopholes and carve-outs, and upends critical federal programs that serve children in need.”
Local group Cleveland Right to Life is urging Joyce to remove his sponsorship from the bill. According to the organization, the bill would “require boys be allowed to play in girls’ sports and use girls’ locker rooms if a they claim to identify as girl.”
Joyce and seven other Republican lawmakers are cosponsors on the proposal.