The conservative Alabama Center for Law and Liberty on Monday sent a letter on behalf of itself and six allied organizations urging that the Montgomery City Council to reject a proposed ordinance that they say would require Christians to violate their religious beliefs or face fines under certain circumstances.
The proposed ordinance would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under the law. The ACLL claims that across the country, ordinances like these have caused problems for Christians and other people who have religious objections to the homosexual lifestyle and transgenderism
The ACLL said for example, in Colorado, a Christian cake shop owner named Jack Phillips has been immersed in nine years of litigation because he would not bake a cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding or a person’s gender transition.
ACLL and its allied organizations are concerned that similar cases would arise in Montgomery.
Matthew Clark is ACLL’s executive director.
“As we read the ordinance, churches could be fined if they refuse to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, and they might be fined if they refused to let same-sex couples use their facilities for weddings,” Clark said. “They could also be fined if they declined to hire non-ministerial personnel, such as facility managers or secretaries, whose sexual orientation or gender identity contradicts the tenants of the church’s faith.”
Clark said that the problems would not stop there.
“Christian schools, small business owners, and homeowners are also in the crosshairs. Schools could face liability if they decline to let transgender students use the locker rooms of their choice,” Clark said. “Small business owners like Jack Phillips could face liability. And homeowners who list their homes on Airbnb could be fined if they declined to let a same-sex couple engage in sexual activities in their home that violate the tenants of their faith.”
ACLL warned the City Council that if this passes, litigation could result and the City would likely lose.
The ACLL was joined in the letter by representatives from Liberty Counsel, the Alabama Policy Institute, the Foundation for Moral Law, the Southeast Law Institute, Eagle Forum of Alabama and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy.
The ACLL is a conservative nonprofit legal organization based in Birmingham and it is the litigation arm of the Alabama Policy Institute.