Stop Hiding Behind ‘Religious Freedom’ and Admit You Hate Gay People

The LDS Church came out on Monday in opposition to the federal Equality Act, a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under anti-discrimination laws. It’s a long overdue potential change that would mean members of the LGBTQ+ community could no longer legally be discriminated against in employment, housing, educational opportunities, federal services, public spaces and even jury duty.

The opposition is no surprise, of course, as the Mormon Church has a long history of both hateful behavior toward the LGBTQ+ community and discriminatory behavior toward marginalized people, be they women, people of color or *whispers* queer. (I can say that because I am.)

Between the church’s vocal and high-profile fight for the passage of Prop 8 in California, the infamous November Policy that officially named members who marry someone of the same gender apostates and banned their children from being baptized, and the continued messaging that gay people can be gay as long as they don’t have sex — not to mention the garbage that church leaders have been vomiting all over the pulpit for decades — it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the church was against the Equality Act. But it still felt like a gut punch.

There’s a difference between serving a cake to gay people and literally being denied housing, employment, educational opportunities and credit because of who you love, and if you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you, except that I’m tired.

I’m tired of people pretending that a gay couple holding hands in front of them or a trans person working at the same office as them or anyone doing anything else a straight and/or cisgender person can legally do has literally any impact on them. I’m tired of people hiding behind religion as an excuse for their bigotry, then crying foul when we raise our hands and say, “Hey, I’d like to be able to walk down the street with the person I love without being afraid of losing my job.” I’m tired of calls for “fairness” when how people define it is to stick to the status quo.

You want to know what would be fair? If LGBTQ+ people had the same rights as cisgender heterosexual people do. Fairness would be applying for an apartment without worrying you might be turned down because your potential landlord disapproves of your relationship. Fairness would be being allowed to fucking hold hands on BYU campus without fear of being kicked out of school.

So no, the Mormon church doesn’t get to cry “unfair” when the adults in the room try to make strides toward equality. This isn’t about exercising any brand of Christianity that’s based on what Christ would have done. It’s about hatred and bigotry, and we should all be holding the church accountable.

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