Warns of 'Alarming Trend to Limit the Civil Rights of a Class of People'
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The United States Commission on Civil Rights Monday condemned the North Carolina anti-LGBT law, along with Mississippi's "religious freedom" law HB 1523, and other, similar legislation, warning of "a larger, alarming trend to limit the civil rights of a class of people using religious beliefs as the excuse."
"Religious freedom is an important foundation of our nation," Commission Chairman Martin R. Castro wrote in a statement. "However, in the past, ‘religious liberty’ has been used to block racial integration and anti-discrimination laws. Those past efforts failed and this new attempt to revive an old evasive tactic should be rejected as well."
"The North Carolina and Mississippi laws, and similar legislation proposed in other states, perverts the meaning of religious liberty and perpetuates homophobia, transphobia, marginalizes the transgender and gay community and has no place in our society."
The USCCR is a bipartisan, independent commission of the federal government. Of its eight commissioners, four are appointed by the President, two by the President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, and two by the Speaker of the House.
In their statement, the USCCR also warned of a bill sitting on Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's desk, HB 1840, that would allow counselors and therapists to deny service to anyone, by citing their "sincerely held religious beliefs," or their "sincerely held principles." They also denounced a Kansas "administrative policy change which would make it more difficult for transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates."
The Commission warned these "laws and policies can be found to violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. These laws can also be found to violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which forbids discrimination against transgender students in any school that receives federal funding."
Hat tip: News & Observer