Sending Office: Honorable Joseph P. Kennedy III
Sent By:
Qais.Roshan@mail.house.gov

Cosponsors (112): Alma Adams, Pete Aguilar, Joyce Beatty, Ami Bera, Don Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Madeleine Bordallo, Brendan Boyle, Julia Brownley, Michael Capuano, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cardenas, André Carson, Kathy
Castor, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Katherine Clark, Yvette Clarke, Steve Cohen, Gerald Connolly, John Conyers, Charlie Crist, Elijah Cummings, Susan Davis, Peter DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Suzan DelBene, Mark DeSaulnier, Ted Deutch, Lloyd Doggett, Keith Ellison,
Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Elizabeth Esty, Dwight Evans, Bill Foster, Ruben Gallego, Jimmy Gomez, Vicente Gonzalez, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Colleen Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Denny Heck, Brian Higgins, Jared Huffman, Sheila Jackson Lee,
Pramila Jayapal, Hakeem Jeffries, Bill Keating, Robin Kelly, Ro Khanna, Derek Kilmer, Ron Kind, Brenda Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Sander Levin, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Stephen Lynch, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Doris Matsui, Betty McCollum,
Donald McEachin, James McGovern, Gregory Meeks, Seth Moulton, Donald Norcross, Richard Nolan, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Beto O’Rourke, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne, Scott Peters, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Jared Polis, David Price, Mike Quigley,
Jamie Raskin, Kathleen Rice, Jacky Rosen, Bobby Rush, Tim Ryan, Linda Sanchez, Janice Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Kurt Schrader, David Scott, José Serrano, Carol Shea-Porter, Albio Sires, Louise Slaughter, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Jackie Speier, Mark Takano,
Dina Titus, Paul Tonko, Norma Torres, Niki Tsongas, Juan Vargas, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maxine Waters, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter Welch

Endorsed by (88): Abortion Care Network, Advocates for Youth, American Atheists, American Civil Liberties Union, American Humanist Association, American Psychological Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State,
Anti-Defamation League, Basic Rights Oregon, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, BiNet USA, Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, The Center for American Progress, Center For Black Equity, Center for Inquiry, Center for Reproductive Rights, DignityUSA, Disciples Action
Network, Disciples Center for Public Witness, Equal Partners in Faith, Equality California, Equality Federation, Family Equality Council, Feminist Majority, FORGE, Inc., Friends Committee on National Legislation, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), GLSEN,
Hindu American Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Institute for Science and Human Values, Interfaith Alliance, Lambda Legal, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Legal Voice, LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute, Medical Students for Choice,
Movement Advancement Project, NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Association of Social Workers, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights,National Center for Transgender
Equality, National Council of Jewish Women, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, NEAT – National Equality Action Team, NMAC, Nursing Students
for Sexual & Reproductive Health, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, OutServe-SLDN, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Pride at Work, Pro-Choice Resources, Religious Institute, Reproductive
Health Access Project, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Policy Institute, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), The Trevor Project, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church
of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Whitman-Walker Health, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to urge you to add your name as a cosponsor of The Do No Harm Act (H.R. 3222) – a bill that would restore the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s (RFRA) purpose of serving as a protective shield for the free exercise of religion rather than
as a sword used to harm others.  The Do No Harm Act would make clear that RFRA does
not preempt fundamental laws that protect against discrimination and would restore the sacred balance between our right to religious freedom and our promise of equal protection under the law.  Specifically, the bill would
prevent the RFRA law from being used to deny:

  • Protection against discrimination laws or the promotion of equal opportunity, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws;
  • Workplace protections or protections against child abuse;
  • Healthcare access, information, referrals, provisions, coverage or services to which persons are otherwise legally entitled;
  • Services that the government has contracted to be provided to beneficiaries through a government contract, grant, or cooperative agreement; and,
  • Accommodations or other benefits and services the government provides.

In light of the recent memorandum Attorney General Sessions issued, your co-sponsorship of The Do No Harm Act is more important than ever.  The October 6th memorandum entitled, “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty,” misinterprets RFRA
to provide a road map for federal agencies to permit taxpayer-funded discrimination. In doing so, Attorney General Sessions has opened the gates for government agencies to exploit RFRA to ignore critical anti-discrimination and civil rights laws. This leaves
women, LGBTQ individuals, and adherents of minority religions unprotected from laws governing hiring discrimination, wages and collective bargaining, and public accommodations, to name just a few.  On the same day of the Sessions’ memo, the Trump Administration
issued regulations that exempt employers and institutions of higher education with moral or religious objections from the ACA’s requirement to provide health coverage for contraception.

The Do No Harm Act would prevent RFRA from becoming a tool of discrimination while still preserving RFRA’s power to protect religious exercise.  For example, RFRA would still grant important accommodations for religious exercise for people of all faiths,
such as for a Sikh soldier who wishes to serve his country while wearing his articles of faith. However, RFRA would not be able to be used to exempt anyone, including taxpayer-funded organizations and government employees, from laws designed to ensure basic
civil rights and legal protections. In addition, RFRA could not be used to justify refusing to provide government-funded services under a contract or refusing to perform duties as a government employee. After all, we all deserve to be treated equally by our
government.

Religious freedom is a fundamental American value and it guarantees us all the right to believe, or not.  Also inherent in that freedom is a promise that one’s beliefs cannot be used to infringe on another’s and do harm.  We urge your co-sponsorship of The
Do No Harm Act to oppose the Trump Administration’s attempts to turn RFRA into a license to discriminate.  Please contact Qais Roshan (with Rep. Kennedy) at
qais.roshan@mail.house.gov or Véronique Pluviose (with Rep. Scott) at
veronique.pluviose@mail.house.gov to add your name or if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,

 

Joseph P. Kennedy III                                                              Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
Member of Congress                                                                  Member of Congress

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Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Government, Judiciary, Labor

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