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Nisha Bhatia

Religious Exemptions for Anti-Discrimination Laws

Our countrys laws give rise to the American slogan, freedom. But, some
Americans disagree that our nation tries to enforce fair and free laws. For example, our
first amendment gives anyone the right to practice his or her religion freely. But a recent
case has proved that this law can be perceived as unfair to some. Kim Davis was
elected clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky and was jailed for five days due to her refusal,
stemmed by religious views, to issue a same-sex marriage licenses. Some may say she
was following her religious rights since her religion did not believe in same sex marriage.
Others may say she was not fulfilling her job requirements as a county clerk. Laws like
this can lead to controversial topics because people have mixed views on the laws
interpretation. In order to address this problem, our government needs to pass a bill that
forbids businesses from refusing service to people based on religious values and beliefs.
A law like this will prevent religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws because it
enforces equal employment opportunities, helps our economy, and prohibits businesses to
deny service to customers based on religious values.
It is important for our government to enforce equal employment opportunity laws
to enable businesses to treat their employees and potential employees fairly. There should
be a mutual understanding between employees and companies of the requirements to
fulfill their job. A person should not be offered a job that will require them to go against
their religious belief because they will be unable to fulfill the job requirements hurting
all parties involved (employer, other employees, and themselves). For example, Charee


Stanley converted to Islam, a year after becoming a flight attendant, and refused to serve
alcoholic beverages. Her refusals to serve alcoholic beverages lead her to her termination
as a flight attendant by the airlines. According to CNN Charee Stanley filed a
discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the
revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation(Indiana House Passes Controversial
Religious Freedom Bill). It is understandable why the airline fired her because it placed
an unfair burden on the other flight attendants to fulfill Stanleys duty of serving
alcoholic beverages to passengers and in effect creating inefficiencies in their business.
These inefficiencies when accumulated can lead to a large profit loss for companies,
therefore, to avoid this the airline took the appropriate steps when terminating Stanleys
job. Another person who was in a similar position as Stanley is a girl named Sara
Hellwege. Sara sued Tampa Family Health Centers, a Medical Provider in Florida, for not
hiring her due to her religious views against prescribing birth control. As a doctor she
should not put her religious values over a patients health. It is her job to provide her
patients with the right medical attention that is based on scientific values and not
religious values. Many doctors have denied women the right to use contraceptives due to
their religious beliefs, "Doctors swear an oath to serve their patients. But instead, they are
allowing their religious beliefs to compromise patient care. And too often, the victims of
this practice are women" (Doctors' Beliefs Can Hinder Patient Care).Inordertoprevent


statedEight percent to 17 percent of gay and transgender workers
report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual
orientation or gender identity(Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of
Workplace Discrimination and Harassment). Although those statics could be
biased, Nathan Oman from the College of William and Mary mentioned In
red states, I think that there is a real danger that in some places homosexuals will lack the
ability to fully and meaningfully participate in the market (The Empirical Irony of the
Conflict Between Antidiscrimination and Religious Freedom). The evidence
mentioned proves that a subset of the U.S. population is denied the
equal right to obtain a job. President Obama has recognized this issue
and in July2014heproposedanexecutiveordertoprohibitdiscriminationagainst
peoplesachancetoexcelinajob.When LGBT people are targets of violence, denied


equal access to education, stigmatized in communities, and discouraged from pursuing

the jobs that maximize their skills, their contributions to the whole economy are
diminished, holding back economic advancement for the national economy (President
Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers). To provide our nation
with a strong economy we need to give every American an equal chance to contribute to
it. Our government needs to enforce a law that requires businesses to only judge an
employee on their work ethic; this will give all Americans a fair chance to contribute to
our economy.
Many businesses have the right to refuse service from any customer. But in recent
events this law should be worded differently. This law should mention that businesses are
prohibited to deny service from costumers based on religious values and beliefs. Due to
the legalization of same-sex marriages, many businesses have closed their doors to same
sex couples. For example, Aaron Klein owns a bakery with is wife in Oregon and they
refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex marriage couple. It is mentioned that the
Kleinss actions was due to their religious beliefs, The Kleins had cited their Christian
beliefs against same-sex marriage in refusing to make the wedding cake for Rachel and
Laurel Bowman-Cryer (Former Oregon Bakery Owners Must Pay $135,000 for Denying
Lesbians Wedding Cake). This incident soon leaked out to the public and their business
soon got a bad reputation for discriminating samesex marriages that can hurt their
business. Another example is Cynthia and Robert Gifford refused to hold a same-sex
marriage ceremony on their farm. Like the owners of the bakery shop in Oregon, the
Giffords refused service due to their religious values as noted farm owners attend a


community church and cite their religious belief of marriage between a man and woman
for declining to hold a same-sex wedding on their property
(FarmOwnersFinedforSayingNotoLesbianWedding). Businesses should not refuse service to
costumers based on religious values and beliefs since it can hurt the business and it is
unfair to deny service to a customer due to religious values and beliefs because it is
Oregon,made the right choice to refuse service to a lesbian couple. For example, many
religions in our nation believe a marriage is a union that consists of both genders in order
to produce life: Marriage is essentially the solemnizing of a comprehensive, exclusive,
permanent union that is intrinsically ordered to producing new life(Gay Rights,
Religious Accommodations, and the purpose of Anti- Discrimination Law). However, our
country was built on the land of the people not the land of religion. As stated workers'
expressions of faith have grown more diverse, creating legal headaches for companies
and exposing the complexitiesofmanagingreligiononthejob( ReligiousDiscrimination Claims on the Rise).Since our country is diverse we encounter many
different opinions, which is why businesses should not mix religious values with work.
In order for America to maintain its freedom slogan, businesses should not have
the right to discriminate customers based on religious values and beliefs. Our government
needs to take authority and pass a bill that prevents businesses from refusing service due


to religious values and beliefs. This will help protect customers in America from being
discriminated against their religious values because it will enforce fair job requirements,
help our economy, and prohibit businesses from denying services to customers based on
religious values.


Work Cited
Cirincione, Maria. "Maryland's Conscience Clause: Leaving a Womans Right to a Health
Care Provider 's Choice." Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
Cox, John Woodrow. "Is the U.S. a Land of Liberty or Equality?" Washington Post. The
Washington Post, Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Cox, John Woodrow. "Muslim Flight Attendant Suspended for Refusing to Serve Alcohol
Files Federal Complaint." Washington Post. The Washington Post, Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
Cox, John Woodrow. "Indiana House Passes Controversial Religious Freedom Bill."
Washington Post. The Washington Post, Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
"Kim Davis Stands Ground, but Couple Get License -" CNN. Cable
News Network, Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
"Doctors' Beliefs Can Hinder Patient Care.", 22 June 2007. Web. 25 Oct.
Doctors' Beliefs Can Hinder Patient Care."
"Religious-Discrimination Claims on the Rise." WSJ. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and
Harassment.", Web. 25 Oct. 2015.


"President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers." The White
House. The White House, Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Former Oregon Bakery Owners Must Pay $135,000 for Denying Lesbians Wedding
Cake." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
"Arkansas and Indiana Pass Changes to Religious Laws - BBC News." BBC News. Web.
23 Sept. 2015.