John Stonestreet on Why the Fairness for All Act Falls Short

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment inquiry hearing of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


On Friday, Republican Representative Chris Stewart of Utah introduced the Fairness for All Act, which, as Christianity Today reports, “would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation, including retail stores, banks, and health care service providers.”

In essence, just like the proposed Equality Act supported by House Democrats, the Fairness for All Act would place sexual orientation and gender identity on par with race and religion as protected classes under the Civil Rights Act.

But there’s a major difference between Fairness for All and the Equality Act. The Fairness for All Act seeks to exempt religious organizations such as churches and nonprofits. So, for example, “Churches wouldn’t be required to host same-sex weddings. Christian schools wouldn’t have to hire LGBT people. Adoption agencies could receive federal funding even if they turned away same-sex couples looking to raise children.”

As such, Rep. Stewart and supporters of the Fairness for All Act see the bill as balancing religious freedom and LGBT rights.

Now I believe Fairness for All is a well-intentioned bill. And I believe that its supporters are truly trying to find ways to compromise with LGBT rights in order to preserve our religious liberties in the end.

But this Act is the wrong piece of legislation at the wrong time.

The Act would enshrine into law something that simply is not true, and for Christians that’s got to be a non-starter: that sexual orientation and gender identity are equal to race, that they are somehow immutable, something someone is born with. As my colleague Shane Morris discussed with me on BreakPoint This Week, the “born with” idea is a useful fiction created by the early proponents of the gay-rights movement to win public approval for their cause. They succeeded, of course, but it does not make the fiction any more true.

Second, the Act is addressing a non-issue. Back in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act addressed a very real problem: There were entire swaths of the country where African Americans couldn’t find a hotel room, buy gas, or get a meal. And so public accommodations were necessary so African Americans could fully participate in society. That most certainly is not the case today with the so-called “sexual minorities.” When two men targeted cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to force him to design a cake for their same-sex wedding, they knew full well that there were plenty of cakeshops nearby that would gladly do what they asked.

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Source: Christian Headlines