Please read the note below from the VA ACLU and call Ben Cline at (804) 698-1024 and Creigh Deeds at (804) 698-7525 today:
Last year, with your help, we defeated efforts in the Virginia General Assembly by people, organizations, and businesses affiliated with religious organizations to license discrimination against people in same-sex marriages. Sadly, they are at it again.
Two bills, SB 1324 sponsored by Sen. Charles Carrico (R-Galax) and HB 2025 sponsored by Nicholas Freitas (R-Culpeper), would allow denial of goods, services, or benefits to anyone based on a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”
If these bills are signed into law, same-sex couples could be denied services at church-run facilities, hotels or resorts affiliated with religious organizations, or at hospitals owned by religious groups, even if the services are funded by taxpayers.
This is not about whether churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship or their religious leaders can decide whom to marry. That right is protected by the First Amendment and Virginia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is about whether people and organizations who provide public accommodations and services in the marketplace can choose not to serve or do business with people in same-sex marriages and their families.
These bills would cause real harm and suffering to real people and would violate the Free Speech and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Claire G. Gastanaga
ACLU of Virginia