First Amendment Defense Act
House Resolution 2802, introduced by Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, would essentially prohibit Federal action against a person “on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”.
Although the legislation was introduced in June 2015, as of November 21, 2016, it had 172 co-sponsors in the House, and the Senate version 34. Essentially it enables states to circumvent the rights prescribed by the Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to the LGBTQI couples the right to marry under the Constitution. That ruling and the introduction of HR 2802 occurred in the same month.
While no timeline has been provided by the administration, some fear Congress will charge ahead and that Donald Trump will support the legislation. The ACLU has criticized the legislation, arguing it will open the door to discrimination against our community. Currently several states have enacted similar measures, and as it stands, neither the administration nor Congress seem hard-pressed to ensure the rights of the LGBTQI community.
What we do
While we have several actions available to us, one possibility is that we continue to build our community. We make our network stronger. And we do that by placing our family first. We support businesses that support us. We can boycott businesses and hold rallies. But at the end of the day, we have to live our lives. In order to do that, our mission is simple: Pull us all together.
We want to create an online directory for the LGBTQI community across the state. Yes, tweeting about a business that didn’t serve you sends a message, but boosting the signal of the business that serves you grows our network. It gives people like you an alternative and it gives businesses as chance to do for us what they do best.
In that way, we seek to provide a state-wide directory of both gay-friendly businesses and gay-owned businesses. We want to provide a platform to help members of the LGBTQI community – who might not be in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – a chance to find what they need, whether its healthcare, retail, food, and the list goes on.
What you can do
You can let us know your experiences. We want to list as many businesses as possible in as many points in Pennsylvania as we can. Within the LGBTQI community, we fit so much diversity under one umbrella. We want to help as many people as possible. We recognize that race, ethnicity, and gender identity are one-size fits all. We want serve ALL of our community.
Won’t you help? Do you have something to contribute? An experience or a suggestion? Then let us know! ASAP! Family forward means we’re in this together.