If some lawmakers have their way, it could eventually become legal for employers to fire single women for getting pregnant. Yup, smh. Republicans are pushing for legislation that aims to protect Americans who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds following the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. However, the language being discussed is so broad that the bill could potentially lend itself to discriminating against women for getting pregnant out of wedlock.
The First Amendment Defense Act prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person — which is defined to include for-profit corporations — acting in accordance with a religious belief that favors so-called traditional marriage. This means the feds can’t revoke a nonprofit’s tax-exempt status or end a company’s federal contract over this issue.
The bill specifically protects those who believe that marriage is between “one man and one woman” or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” Ian Thompson, a legislative representative at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that in addition to targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the bill “clearly encompasses discrimination against single mothers” and would hobble the ability of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal body that protects women from sex-based discrimination, to act.
This scenario isn’t merely hypothetical. There are a number of recent cases where religious schools have fired unwed teachers for becoming pregnant. A Montana Catholic school teacher who was fired for having a baby out of wedlock, for example, filed a discrimination charge last year with the EEOC. While the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a ministerial exception to employment discrimination laws, that exception is somewhat limited, not necessarily covering educators employed by Catholic schools who teach about exclusively secular subjects.
James Ryan, a spokesman for the EEOC, said the commission could not comment on pending legislation in Congress.
At a press conference on Thursday, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who authored the House bill, strongly denied that it could be used this way. “It’s just allowing people to continue to believe the way they do,” he told The Huffington Post.
This still sounds confusing. Why would anyone need a law to “protect their beliefs” unless they wanted to try to punish someone else for behaving in a way that they don’t agree with? For example, there are certain institutions (colleges and universities, for example) that operate from the religious belief that sex is to be reserved for marriage, and there have been cases where there were discrimination lawsuits filed by women who had children out of wedlock. So, this basically seems to mean that if the bill were passed, it would serve as a way for um…discrimination to be okay.
Having a belief is one thing, but passing judgment on someone who has a different belief system in the form of discrimination is beyond just having a difference of opinion. Also, people can’t win. These same folks would be coming down on that same single woman for having an abortion. And, how did we go from gay marriage to pregnant women? Smh.
Yeah, they probably need to tighten that up.
People are just so…myopic.