Democrats in Congress Reintroduce Bill to Prevent Discrimination on Basis of Religious Freedom

Congressional Democrats have reintroduced a bill that would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, known as the Do No Harm Act, reported Gay Star News.

Sen. Kamala Harris and Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Bobby Scott reintroduced the bill to protect religious freedom while preventing it from being used to discriminate on Thursday (February 28). The amendment seeks to enact RFRA by protecting religious minorities and freedoms while upholding anti-discrimination laws.

This amendment to RFRA, under which the federal government can not “substantially burden” a person’s religious exercise, was first introduced in 2016 and later reintroduced in 2017 by Reps. Kennedy and Scott.

“We cannot be equal or free if our government grants select Americans a license to discriminate under the guise of religious freedom,” Kennedy said. Harris added that the amendment ensures “more comprehensive protections against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

“In recent years, bad faith interpretations of RFRA have been used to deny health care coverage for employees, claim exemptions to civil rights law, and impede justice in child labor and abuse cases,” Scott said. “This bill would… ensure that religious freedom is only used as a shield to protect individuals from discrimination, and not a sword to cut down the rights of others.”

Religious freedom has been cited to justify numerous discrimination cases, one of the most famous being that of baker Jack Phillips. Last year, the Supreme Court voted in favor of Phillips by a vote of 7-2 after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because it was against his religion.