How Religious Liberty Bills Target Women and Regulate Sex
In the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court decision to recognize same-sex loving people’s right to marry in the United States, Congress has proposed the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) under the guise of protecting “religious liberty” to allow employers and business owners to discriminate against gay people’s rights if they do not agree with homosexuality. In addition, according to the ACLU, these laws enable employers to fire women for having premarital sex and pharmacies to deny birth control to women.
These laws are notable because they give people the right to refuse service to same-sex loving people in relation to wedding services and counseling by claiming that to do so would be a violation of their faith. It is important to note that white business owners also appealed to religious liberty when attempting to prevent black and white integration in the 1960s.
The language of the FADA affects women too, since it would prevent the government from taking action against a person who claims religious freedom when acting on the “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.”
Basically, if you are not having assumed heterosexual sex like a straight man or a Christian, then these laws affect you.
The FADA could protect religious schools that have been brought to court for their attempts to fire women for premarital sex, often evidenced by pregnancy. You read that right. Religious universities and schools have attempted to fire pregnant unmarried women. This is an incredibly vulnerable population due to their new responsibilities as mothers, and unmarried ones at that, who may not be able to rely on a partner or a spouse for an income.
In some cases, women who are not able to get pregnant on their own and using in vitro fertilization (IVF) have also been fired for breaking a school’s religious rules. Women seeking contraception from their employers (as in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case) and from pharmacies could also be barred due to violations of religious rights.
Ultimately, the FADA puts sexual decisions in the hands of employers and businesses and out of the hands of women. This law puts both same-sex loving people and women at risk and bars them from living their lives and controlling their own bodies.
Photo Credits: AP, Paul Sakuma