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Potential Ordinance Coming to Montgomery Attacks Religious Freedom

Birmingham, Ala. – Today (July 8th, 2021), the Alabama Center for Law & Liberty (ACLL) announced its opposition to an ordinance (which can be viewed here) planned to be revealed to the Montgomery City Council soon that infringes upon the freedoms of religion and speech as protected by the First Amendment.

The ordinance, which aims to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, will instead deprive Christians and conscientious objectors of their civil rights if they oppose the ordinance.

“This ordinance, if adopted by the council, will apply to anyone in the city who offers accommodations, to all prospective employers, and to everyone who contracts with the city,” ACLL Executive Director Matt Clark said. “It makes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity an offense under the city code. The city can charge individuals with a separate offense and seek a $500 fine for every day the discrimination continues. The only religious exemption is for religious organizations who employ people to carry out their religious mission.” The Supreme Court has already held that the Constitution protects that, so it’s a completely superfluous provision.

“What’s more alarming,” Clark continues, “is that it may require churches to hire non-ministerial personnel who do not comport with its mission. Furthermore, it probably won’t provide any protection for Christian small business owners at all. It could also make each Christian who rents out their house on Airbnb liable if they decline to allow a same-sex couple to use their house.”

Clark concluded, “This ordinance ought to be opposed not just by Christians, but by anyone who supports the First Amendment.”

The ACLL will oppose the ordinance in the courts if approved by the City.

The Alabama Center for Law & Liberty is the litigation arm of the Alabama Policy Institute.

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