Some are calling a new bill passed by the House of Representatives an attack on people of faith.
The Equality Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Some church leaders say the Equality Act should be called the “inequality act” for failing to protect religious freedoms.
Pastor Jonathan Falwell with Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg says the bill would force religious people to hire individuals who disagree with their beliefs, even if they fundamentally clash with their religious beliefs.
"If someone comes to us who disagrees with our values if they want a job, and we don’t give them a job because they disagree with God’s word, then the government can sanction us, fine us and put us out of business," Pastor Falwell said.
The Equality Act aims to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from job discrimination and discrimination in public places, on transportation and in government-funded programs but doesn't mention any protections for churches.
“I don’t see it passing in the Senate," says Pastor Falwell.
The bill needs every Democratic senator and 10 Republican senators to pass.
“Don’t call Mark Warner," Pastor Falwell told his congregation on Sunday. "Warner already said he will sponsor the bill. Tim Kaine hasn’t spoken out yet. Call Tim Kaine and say vote no.”
Sen. Warner posted on Twitter he will be co-sponsoring and voting in favor of the bill.
"I've always been very supportive of equality," says Sen. Mark Warner.
In a statement, Sen. Tim Kaine said the following:
No one – no matter whom they love – should face discrimination. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to get this passed once and for all.
It's still unclear when the Senate will take this up for a vote.
The House passed the bill last week 224-206. Three Republicans crossed the aisle in favor of the bill.
Congressmen Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Ben Cline all voted against it.