Religious Liberty Protection Act Endangers GLBT Civil Rights

July 15, 1999

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

The Religious Liberty Protection Act approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives would make it easier to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, marital or family status and disability status, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force warned today.

NGLTF Executive Director Kerry Lobel warned that under the legislation passed by the House today, owners of large apartment buildings would be able to cite their religious exercise protections to deny the civil rights of prospective tenants. She called on the Senate to add explicit language to the legislation that makes it clear RLPA does not create a defense to the enforcement of state and local civil rights laws.

"Protecting religious liberty is a worthy cause, but not at the expense of any person¹s other civil rights," Lobel said. "We strongly believe both of these principles are important and neither should be sacrificed for the sake of the other. We don't have to play one critical civil right against another in order for both to prevail."

A broad coalition of groups has come together to oppose RLPA because of the lack of exemption for civil rights protections. These groups include AIDS Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization, National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, National Catholic AIDS Network and National Organization for Women.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.