For media inquires please contact our Media & Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith. 202-380-8480, email@example.com
Sikhs Demand LGBT Fix, But No Nix To RFRA Law
For Immediate Release
April 1, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, today asked lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas to ensure that state religious freedom laws do not discriminate against the LGBT community.
In letters sent today to leaders in Indiana and Arkansas, the Sikh Coalition noted that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was signed into federal law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and originally conceived as a federal anti-discrimination measure. For this reason, the letter urged lawmakers in both states to clarify that state versions of the law “cannot be used to discriminate against people on any basis, including their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Sikh Coalition’s letter is a unique twist to a public debate that often pits impassioned religious conservatives against equally vociferous LGBT activists without much room in the middle for religious minorities who support both religious rights and LGBT rights.
“RFRA is a lifeline for religious minorities, especially Sikh Americans,” said Rajdeep Singh, Senior Director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition. “Whether it's Indiana or Arkansas -- it is wrong to discriminate against people based on what they believe, but we also cannot allow RFRA to be used to discriminate against people because of who they love.”
In recent years, the Sikh Coalition has relied on the federal version of RFRA to vindicate the religious rights of Sikhs who experienced employment discrimination, including a Sikh who was denied a job as a federal security officer with the Federal Protective Service in 2005 because of his turban and beard. The Sikh Coalition has also invoked RFRA to challenge policies that prevent Sikh Americans from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces while wearing turbans and maintaining unshorn hair and beards in accordance with their faith.
The Sikh Coalition has worked to protect clients from government acts of religious discrimination for the past 14-years. To schedule an interview with one of our legal experts or to learn more about how RFRA protects minority communities please contact Mark Reading-Smith.
Recent Press Releases Issued:
- (April 1, 2015) Sikhs Demand LGBT Fix, But No Nix To RFRA Law
- (March 25, 2015) Sikhs Finally Represented in FBI Hate Crime Tracking Program
- (January 29, 2015) New Case Highlights Pentagon’s Failure To Resolve Religious Discrimination
- (December 8, 2014) Sikh Coalition Rejects Flawed and Misleading DOJ Racial Profiling Guidance
- (December 6, 2014) Reports on New Racial Profiling Guidance Shocking to Sikh Community
- (November 19, 2014) HASC Hearing on Religious Accommodations Fails to Address Sikh Loophole
- (August 29, 2014) Sikhs Launch Viral Video to Call 'Foul' on FIBA Turban Ban
- (August 14, 2014) Sikh Hate Crime Targets Demand Action from NYC Government: Recent Hate Attacks Linked to Government Inaction and NYPD Discrimination
- (August 12, 2014) Sikh Hate Crime Targets Demand Action from NYC Government
- (August 8, 2014) Another NYC Sikh Injured in Hate Attack: 2nd Attack in 2 Weeks; Sikh Coalition Urges Witnesses to Step Forward
- (August 5, 2014) Rally This Morning: Sikh Father Hit by Truck, Dragged 30 Feet in Hate Crime
- (August 4, 2014) Press Conference: NYC Sikh Father Hit by Truck, Dragged 30 Feet in Possible Hate Crime
- (July 17, 2014)Sikh Coalition Files FOIA Request for NSA and FBI ‘Raghead’ Documents
- (April 2, 2014) Interfaith Coalition to Pentagon: New Religion Guidelines Still Discriminate
- (March 13, 2014) Groundbreaking National Report on Severe Bullying of Sikh American School Children Released Today in US Congress
- (March 10, 2014) 105 Members of Congress Urge Defense Secretary to End Sikh Service Ban
- (January 29, 2014) Sikhs Press Pentagon to Improve New Religious Accommodation Guidelines
- (January 22, 2014) Sikh Coalition Responds to Amended DOD Religious Guidelines
- (September 21, 2013) "Get Osama" Yelled in Attack on Sikh Columbia University Professor, Victim to Speak at Press Conference
- (May 31, 2013) Decorated Sikh Soldier Presses For End to Ban on Sikh Military Service
- (August 5, 2012) Sikh Coalition Responds To Tragic Shooting in Wisconsinn
- (August 6, 2012) Second Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
- (August 6, 2012) Third Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
- (August 7, 2012) Fourth Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
- (August 7, 2012) Fifth Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
- (August 8, 2012) Sixth Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
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About the Sikh Coalition
The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. In particular, we work towards a world where Sikhs may freely practice and enjoy their faith while fostering strong relations with their local community wherever they may be.
We pursue our mission by:
- Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights are violated;
- Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
- Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
- Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community empowerment
With a full-time staff of 10 and offices in New York City, Fremont, CA and Washington D.C., we are the most-staffed Sikh organization in the history of the United States.
Photos and videos of the Sikh Coalition's work.