Press

Action Alert: House Republican Caucus in Uproar Over Faith Based Initiative, HR 7

Date: 
July 18, 2001

MODERATE REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS CALLS NOW
ON FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE PROPOSAL!

CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TODAY!

SUPPORT THE MOTION TO RECOMMIT.

THIS WOULD REQUIRE ALL PROVIDERS TO COMPLY WITH STATE AND LOCAL ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

The House Republican leadership today temporarily withdrew HR 7, the bill that legislates the Bush-Cheney Administration’s so-called "Faith-Based Initiative," exempts providers of social service receiving federal tax dollars from compliance with state and local anti-discrimination laws, except those that are specifically covered by those federal laws that are enumerated in this bill.

The move came after a split in the House Republican Caucus between conservatives supporting the bill as is and moderates wanting to insert language opposing discrimination on the basis of religious belief and sexual orientation.

As presently written, HR 7 will allow these social-service providers to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in hiring and in the provision of services, even in those states and cities that have anti-discrimination laws.

This is a contemptuous and arrogant assault on the work of people in those 12 states and hundreds of localities that have passed anti-discrimination provisions. If this initiative passes Congress and is signed into law, the federal government will assume the role of the great nullifier of local laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Moreover, other state-protected groups are similarly disadvantaged by HR 7. The bill allows federally-funded, faith-based providers to discriminate on the basis of religion as well, for example, because the bill does not specifically extend protection on the basis of religion.

The only way to defeat HR 7 in its current form is to vote for a "motion to recommit." This motion is being sponsored by the House Democrat leadership and some moderate Republicans.

Please contact your Congressional representative immediately - contact information below - and insist that he/she oppose HR 7 as currently written and support the Frank-Baldwin amendment (or the Democratic substitute) for the following reasons:

  • Federal dollars should not be granted to providers that violate local and state laws protecting people from discrimination.

  • The federal government should not encourage or protect religious institutions that seek to circumvent local and state law.

  • Federally-funded programs should respect the decisions of local and state governments to offer anti-discrimination protections to certain classes of people.

  • By funding programs that are then allowed to discriminate in defiance of local and state laws, the federal government is endorsing particular religious beliefs.

  • Requiring faith-based social service providers to abide by applicable local and state laws does not interfere with their free exercise of religion.

For more information about Bush's Faith Based Initiatives program, visit NGLTF's "WWatch" web site.

Write, call, e-mail, or fax your Representative immediately. This bill is scheduled for House action on Wednesday, July 18, 2001. Contact your Representative immediately and urge your friends to act today.

To find out who your legislator is and get contact information for their office, visit the NGLTF Action Center and enter your ZIP code. You can also visit the House of Representatives web site at www.house.gov. To reach the House switchboard, call (202) 224-3121.

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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 movement’s 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.