PFLAG National Action Alert
From PFLAG National (amended to reflect updates):
Dear PFLAG Members and Supporters:
Governor Michael Pence of Indiana on Thursday signed into law revisions in the state’s divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) aimed at removing fears that it would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. While much of the original law (giving people permission to discriminate against others by citing their religious beliefs) has been preserved, the amendment now clarifies that RFRA does not “authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.” We are so proud of Indiana PFLAGers who have been relentless, vocal, and organized in letting all other Hoosiers know the real impact of the Indiana law. On CNN, on local news, in social media, and even organizing and leading the charge at rallies, PFLAGers are sending an unequivocal message that PFLAG’s values are America’s values.
In Arkansas, a similar “revised” religious freedom bill (mirroring the federal RFRA) was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson. In that case, leaders at Walmart, including their CEO Doug McMillan, have called the proposed law a threat to “the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas.” Meanwhile, in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida, our transgender community is being subjected to bills that criminalize and/or fine their ability to use a restroom.
There have been more than 70 state legislative bills in more than half the states in our country that would harm people who are LGBTQ, and some states have introduced multiple bills; Texas alone has 20. To date, three have become law–in Indiana, Utah, and Arkansas.
Across the country, PFLAGers’ voices are strong, clear, and heard. Many PFLAGers who identify as people of faith, have expressed shock, anger, and sadness that some of their elected officials would shamefully attempt to make discrimination the law of their state and use religious liberty as the rationale for doing so. PFLAG family and ally voices have always had a critical role to play in moving equality forward. Today is no exception. In fact, PFLAGers are standing up and demanding that this be called out for what it is–discrimination is wrong, no matter how it gets packaged. To pair it with religious liberty is an insult to those of us whose family, culture, and traditions are steeply rooted in faith tradition.
Our family and ally stories mirror how people’s lives are affected by potentially harmful actions, and not just those who are LGBTQ. PFLAG voices represent a large number of people–parents, family members, and allies–who might not otherwise be visible and whose opinions may not be represented anywhere else. PFLAG voices are the voices of our neighbors, our coworkers, the people with whom we gather in our faith communities. PFLAG voices are the voices of local communities across each state and throughout the country. PFLAG voices truly are America’s voices.
PFLAG will not accept actions by any level of government in our country that enshrines into law the permission for people to legally discriminate against our children and grandchildren, our loved ones, ourselves. We will continue to raise our collective family and ally voices against discrimination.
Tell your elected officials, your neighbors, your colleagues–anyone you think will have influence to stop this onslaught of discriminatory bills–that PFLAG’s values are America’s values, and we won’t let up until each and every one of these bills ends up on the legislative trash heap where they belong.
Yours in PFLAG solidarity,
Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director
We must keep the pressure on!