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20 House Republicans cosponsoring bill to balance LGBT and religious liberty protections

"This country can accommodate both civil liberties for LGBT individuals & religious freedom," Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah said in a statement.

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Demonstrators outside Supreme Court in 2019
Demonstrators outside Supreme Court in 2019
(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: February 28, 2021 - 10:22pm

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A group of 20 House Republicans are cosponsoring legislation that aims to simultaneously protect LGBT individuals from discrimination while also protecting religious liberty.

"This country can accommodate both civil liberties for LGBT individuals & religious freedom," Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah said in a statement included in a press release about the reintroduction of the Fairness for All Act. "We have wasted enough time, energy, and money fighting over who deserves which legal protections. It is time to define the federal protections for our LGBT and religious friends and neighbors."

The House on Thursday passed a separate LGBT-related bill called the Equality Act that garnered support from only three GOP members.

The Fairness for All Act "codifies protections for LGBT individuals against discrimination in housing, employment, and other public accommodations while also including exemptions for religious institutions and employers that are not explicitly present in the Equality Act," according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Some people warn that the Equality Act poses a threat to religious liberty. 

"The Equality Act is a license for the government to discriminate against Americans who seek to live out their faith in their schools, businesses, and communities," First Liberty Institute President, CEO and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford said in a statement. "It guts the promise of the First Amendment that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Unless the Senate intervenes, the Equality Act will strip out critical protections found in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — one of President Bill Clinton's most lasting achievements."

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