I agree that Congress has a historic opportunity to pass legislation this year that would protect all LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. But in their recent column, “It’s time for Sen. Collins to support federal LGBTQ anti-bias protections,” the authors omitted important concerns about S. 393, known as the Equality Act, and unfairly criticized Sen. Susan Collins.

Many faith leaders who truly support equality and fairness are justifiably worried that the Equality Act, as passed by the U.S. House, is overly broad and would eliminate First Amendment protections afforded under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. A reasonable compromise is within reach, however, and the Senate should work to address these concerns.

Collins has demonstrated leadership for the LGBTQ community and has stated support for non-discrimination legislation. In fact, in 2013, she led the successful Senate passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would have banned employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

No one should face discrimination. A recent poll found a majority of Americans want Congress to reach a compromise on LGBTQ rights and religious liberty and Collins’ support will be critical to finding a reasonable path forward.

 

Mark J. Ellis

Hallowell

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