Friday, September 27, 2019

MAP moves the needle at the LGBTQ Presidential Forum

At last Friday’s LGBTQ Presidential Forum hosted by The Advocate, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, GLAAD, and One Iowa, Democratic candidate Julián Castro addressed an alarming trend happening in legislatures and courts across the country: the use of broad religious exemptions laws to target vulnerable communities, including LGBT people, minority faiths, and women.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value—so fundamental that it is protected by the First Amendment of our nation’s Constitution. And historically, religious exemptions have protected the tried-and-true American values of freedom of belief, worship and religious exercise. However, in recent years some people have begun to distort this historical understanding by claiming that religious exemptions should allow people to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, their customers, their patients, their constituents, and others.

Hear him explain further:

MAP has been at the forefront of doing impactful research on how religious exemptions laws threaten the health, wellbeing, and safety of many people across the United States, and particularly in rural communities. Just last week, MAP released a groundbreaking report—the second in a series—about LGBT people of color living in rural America, describing how many service providers in rural areas are religiously affiliated and are covered under religious exemptions laws that may allow them to discriminate.

That’s not a coincidence. For more than 12 years, MAP has worked to advance the conversation and speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP’s groundbreaking research builds understanding of the lives and experiences of people all over the country and identifies the policy solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing these communities. On issues from nondiscrimination and criminal justice to LGBT older adults and health care, MAP frames problems and policy solutions for maximum impact.