Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which would allow businesses, governments, and even first responders to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and other minority groups on religious grounds.
Versions of these laws are being pushed by legislators in many states in the wake of recent progress for LGBTQ marriage equality. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) was one of the first unions to include protections for LGBTQ members into their constitution and bylaws, and remain opposed to any form of workplace discrimination.
“AFA has fought tirelessly against discrimination in our workplace to ensure everyone with the heart of a Flight Attendant could become one,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson. “We promote the fundamental principle of equality, upon which our country was founded, because it makes all of us better. The scourge of discrimination is a tactic of intimidation, which will spread unless we stand relentlessly for freedom. Liberty and Justice for all.”
These laws try to codify the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case last year when the craft store chain won the right to deny female employees of birth control on religious grounds. A broad interpretation of the Indiana law goes much further than just legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, it permits any form of decimation as long as it’s rooted in a vaguely veiled religious belief.
Among the nation’s leading advocates for equality, AFA has a long and proud history of overcoming discrimination.
“We fought to ensure men could enjoy the rights of our contract and that women receive equal pay. We fought to improve working conditions, and even the right to marry and have children,” said Nelson. “We were leaders in calling for inclusion and benefits for all of our members regardless of gender, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation. We continue to fight for Flight Attendants across the world in our work opposing Gulf carriers’ discrimination against their workers.”
Nelson added, “We call on the Indiana State legislature to undo this abhorrent law. And just as we have done throughout our history, such as the battle we waged against Big Tobacco, we will relentlessly battle the hate spewing from the Governor’s office in Indiana or wherever it may exist until our communities are free of hate.”
The AFA is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 67 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.