The Birmingham City Council recently adopted a non-discrimination ordinance, penalizing anyone who discriminates based on several statutes including, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The city claims that this new ordinance will ensure the equal protection of all citizens within the city limits, while bringing more small business to the Magic City. However, many disagree.
To some, this ordinance is painfully familiar to other statutes and state laws that seek to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation – the laws do not provide any protection for Christian or other faith-based businesses that have religious objections to such a law. For example, according to an article by One News Now, churches are permitted to hire Christians for religious positions, but cannot discriminate when it comes to other positions within the church such as administrative or daycare workers.
Southern Baptist minister Tommy Littleton, who was present for the vote, says the Human Rights Campaign and other liberal lobbying groups have flooded millions of dollars into Alabama and other “red” states to push liberal agendas. He has no doubt that that is how such an ordinance was passed in the Magic City.
The new ordinance is reminiscent of the Colorado law that found Christian baker Jack Phillips guilty of discrimination. He was convicted by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, similar to the Birmingham Human Rights Commission established by the new ordinance. The Supreme Court is set to hear Phillips’ appeal in what is expected to be a landmark decision. Many opponents of the ordinance believe that it will function just like these other state laws, and in an effort to stop discrimination, will actually discriminate against other groups.
A person or business who violates the ordinance could be subject to a criminal charge and substantial fine. Damages could also be sought through the civil court system as well. Non-discrimination laws are an essential part of any free nation. All of a nation’s citizens should be ensured equal protection before the law, but that must include all citizens. These laws must provide ways for religious objectors to not be forced to renege on their beliefs.