Protect Religious Freedom. Enforce Common Sense Non-discrimiation Laws.
Yet there have been times in our history when religion has been invoked to justify serious harm. In years past, opponents of interracial marriage, desegregation and other efforts to protect civil rights have too often cited scripture and religion in making their arguments.
To be blunt, certain politicians have twisted religious liberty and used it as a tool to discriminate. That's just wrong, and the overwhelming majority of religious leaders agree.
Gary Johnson believes we can, and must, strike a balance between our shared American values of religious liberty and freedom from discrimination. Today, in some states, politically-driven legislation which claims to promote religious liberty but instead rolls back the legal protections held by LGBT Americans is failing that test of balance.
When it comes to civil rights and the rights of the LGBT community, states are best served when they take an inclusive approach of "fairness to all."
Conversely, divisive and thinly-veiled legislation clearly aimed at LGBT individuals serves no one, and is not the American way.
One state who "got it right" is Utah. In a compromise worked out among religious leaders, lawmakers and members of the LGBT community, Utah enacted a law making clear that discrimination in employment, housing, and government services is illegal. At the same time, the law granted common sense protections to insure that the legitimate First Amendment rights of individuals and religious organizations cannot be put at risk.
In short, Utah found a way to protect religious freedom without creating a "right to discriminate".
America is big enough to accommodate differences of opinion and practice in religious and social beliefs. As a nation and as a society, we must reject discrimination, forcefully and without asterisk,s while at the same time we must protect our important religious freedoms.