The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, announced on Monday (13 May) its opposition to the Equality Act.
In a statement, the religious group said the legislation doesn’t ‘meet the standards of fairness for all’.
‘While providing extremely broad protections for LGBT rights, the Equality Act provides no protections for religious freedom,’ the statement reads.
The Mormon Church reaffirmed its belief that religions institutions and groups should have the right to maintain faith-based standards.
According to the Church, the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes against discrimination, would ‘threaten religious employment standards, devastate religious education, defund numerous religious charities’.
Other religious institutions, like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church, also do no support the Equality Act.
The Mormon Church maintained in its statement that it supports protections for LGBTI people, but not at the cost of religious freedom. Recently, they supported banning conversion therapy in Utah and dropped its ban on baptizing children of LGBTI parents.
What is the Equality Act?
The Equality Act seeks to prohibit discrimination for LGBTI people by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Legislators introduced the first version of it in 1974, only including sexual orientation in various areas of life. Previously, the Equality Act as it exists today, including both sexual orientation and gender identity, has been introduced to Congress twice. The first time was in 2015 and then again in 2017.
Both years the bill died in committee.
Democrats re-introduced it to Congress in March. After Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives following last year’s midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it was a ‘top priority’.
Many experts, however, warn the legislation has a long chance of passing with a Republican-controlled Senate.