DC Repeals Anti-LGBT Exemption That Allowed Religious Schools To Discriminate


The Washington, D.C. City Council has repealed a law that allowed educational institutions to discriminate against LGBT people. But one anti-LGBT group is threatening a lawsuit.

While many were heralding the Washington, D.C. City Council earlier this week for passing an ordinance that bans the practice of anti-LGBT "reparative therapy," also known as "ex-gay therapy," on minors, few noticed that the body also passed another important piece of legislation. The city council repealed a 1989 amendment forced on D.C. by Congress, to the city's Human Rights Act, known as the Armstrong Amendment. That law allowed religious educational institutions, which were loosely defined, to discriminate against LGBT people.

Congress has 30 days to void the repeal of the anti-LGBT provision.

“The time has come for us to get rid of that obnoxious provision,” Rick Rosendall, president of the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, said, according to the Washington Blade. 

The anti-gay legal group Liberty Counsel registered extreme opposition to the move.

"The Act's repeal of the religious exemption for religious schools and church schools from D.C. Code provisions regarding homosexual acts, lifestyle, orientation, or belief is of grave concern," Liberty Counsel wrote to the city council. "The First Amendment directly prohibits government from prohibiting the Free Exercise of religion," it reminded them.

“Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity or Expression" or "Transgender” are subjective, changeable, behavior-based categories subject to moral choice, and are not immutable characteristics such as race, sex, skin color or ethnicity, nor are they in the category of fundamental rights, such as religious belief.

Of course, that's an opinion being purveyed by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group. 

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions have the right to be the moral conscience of their community; they may speak out on moral issues which are defined as "sin" in their respective faith traditions; and they may inculcate their youth with these religious and moral values in their private religious schools. They may not be penalized for doing so. 

Liberty Counsel did not detail how a religious educational institution would be penalized by the repeal of the ordinance, but claimed, "attempting to impose employment regulations on church schools and religious schools whose doctrines and sincere religious convictions forbid homosexual or cross-dressing affiliation and employment is flatly unconstitutional."

The letter also referred to transgender women as "a man claiming he is a woman on a given day," in an attempt to support its incorrect claim that sexual orientation, gender expression, or being transgender are "subjective, changeable, behavior-based." It is also threatening a lawsuit.


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