In the wake of the Orlando LGBT Massacre The Fenway Institute has released a policy brief
that examines controversial “religious freedom” state legislation that seeks to restrict access to healthcare & other essential services by LGBT people. In the first half of 2016 nearly 200 anti LGBT bills have been filed in 32 states. Six states including Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee & Mississippi have passed such “religious freedom” legislation & their governors have signed them into law. Some of the proposed legislation would also nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation & gender identity & denies transgender people access to restrooms according to their gender identity. Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute stated, “These bills take the concept of religious liberty, as protected by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, & turn it on its head. True religious freedom laws protect individuals’ free exercise of religion & they harm no one. But these new anti-LGBT laws are designed so that corporations, small businesses, hospitals & healthcare providers can deny service or treatment to LGBT people as a group by claiming that providing such service or treatment would violate their religious beliefs or sincerely held principles.” President Obama stepped up to the plate in Florida during the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting to ensure that our LGBT community received the proper treatment. But on a daily basis our LGBT community is vulnerable in states that have passed legislation & those states that the legislation is pending.
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