One Equal World

Religious Freedom and LGBTQ+ Rights at Odds Even Among “Reasonable People”

Posted on: January 26, 2017

Two signs leading in opposite directions. One reads, "Republicans" the other reads, "Democrats."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The phrase “religious freedom” makes the LGBTQ+ community cringe. But that’s understandable given that religious freedom is often used as an excuse to freely discriminate against queer people.

While conservatives normally take the flak for this, it’s important to note that not all conservatives agree with religious freedom laws. Conservatives are often unfairly cast as “extreme right-wingers” when not all of them fit this bill. Surely, this is a concept that liberals can sympathize with, considering that Democrats face their own stereotypes.

That’s why Robin Fretwell Wilson, Director of the Family Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law, organized a meeting to try and bridge the divide between the left and the right. The meeting, hosted at Yale University, was meant to get the dialogue started around how to approach religious freedom laws.

Wilson organized the meeting because he believes that “reasonable people in the middle” get drowned out by the constant bickering between the left and the right. He figured if he could bring both Democrats and Republicans together, they could find some common ground.

But Wilson was wrong.

Wilson is a leader in what has been deemed the “Fairness for All” camp. In short, he works alongside lawmakers and politicians to try and reach compromises. But what he found was that even when he proposed a law that was catered to both parties’ interests, someone always objected. Either a conservative didn’t find it to be protective enough of their religious beliefs, or a liberal didn’t find it to be protective enough of their civil liberties.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

But Wilson is going to keep trying, especially because he knows that conflict is inevitable. He fully realizes that he won’t be able to please everyone, he only hopes to please the majority of the people who find themselves caught in the middle of the political divide.

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1 Response to "Religious Freedom and LGBTQ+ Rights at Odds Even Among “Reasonable People”"

I’m glad that someone is trying. It’s obviously a very tough job.

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