WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (FL-26) issued the following statement after co-sponsoring the Fairness for All Act and voting against H.R. 5 this evening:
“I am supporter of protecting LGBTQ+ rights. During my administration as Mayor of Miami-Dade County, the government came together with LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to champion community initiatives adding gender identity and expression to the human rights ordinances and leading restoration in revitalization efforts in several of Miami\’s historic communities, including LGBTQ+ communities. The Miami-Dade commission banned discrimination based on gender identity, including bans on discrimination in housing, use of public transportation, adoption, or foster care services solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Gimenez said.
“No individual should ever be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, in the same way we have instituted those protections based on age, race, and religion. In a truly free society, individuals are free to express their true selves and live up to their fullest potential so long as their actions do not trample the rights of others. I will fight to extend those protections at the federal level.
“As well-intentioned H.R. 5 may be, the legislation as written strips First Amendment rights from religious institutions, including churches and religiously-affiliated private schools. Equally important in a free society are protections for individuals’ free exercise of religion. Our Constitution, along with numerous Supreme Court cases throughout American history, uphold the sanctity of these basic rights. I will always support religious institutions to act in accordance with their faith. Protecting religious freedom and extending protections for LGBTQ+ individuals are not, cannot be, mutually exclusive. That is the opposite of real social inclusivity.
In that vein, I co-sponsored the Fairness for All Act to establishing bans of discriminatory actions based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including in the procurement of crucial services such as federal assistance, housing, and credit.
I know many of my Republican colleagues feel the same passion for protecting LGBTQ+ communities, especially those who represent districts like mine where the LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of our culture and history. I lament the fact that House Democrats did not accept any amendments to H.R. 5. Had we been given that opportunity, I am confident amendments would have been moved forward to include these necessary protections and we could have passed protections for LGBTQ+ individuals on a broad, bipartisan basis,” Gimenez concluded.
Originally published at https://gimenez.house.gov/2021/2/gimenez-co-sponsors-fairness-all-act-votes-against-hr-5