“Religious Liberty” Exemptions: Bad for Religion, Bad for LGBTQ Rights
Raise Your Voice
Shelbi Day, Esq., Family Equality Council; and Arielle Gingold, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and Diego Miguel Sanchez, APR, PFLAG National
Workshop Block 4: Sunday, October 22 - 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Salon D

Religion is being abused and turned into a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in a range of contexts across the country. Although so-called “religious liberty” laws have been met with public outcry —including from people of faith who reject such a definition of religious freedom—attempts to legally allow child welfare providers to discriminate based on their religious beliefs have gone largely unnoticed. This workshop will provide an overview of “religious liberty” laws and how activists can help defeat them, including by effectively engaging with affirming faith organizations. We will use adoption and foster care non-discrimination work and legislation like the Every Child Deserves a Family Act as a case study, while also exploring legislative and legal attempts to use religion to discriminate.

Presenter Bios

Shelbi Day joined Family Equality Council (FEC) in 2016 as Senior Policy Counsel. Day is primarily responsible for FEC's administrative advocacy with federal agencies, and she assists with some federal and state legislative work. Prior to joining FEC, Day was a civil rights litigator, mostly on LGBTQ rights issues. She served as a staff attorney at the Western Regional Office of Lambda Legal, where she on the legal team in Sevcik v. Sandoval, a successful challenge of Nevada's law prohibiting gay people from marrying. Day has also worked at the ACLU of Florida, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Southern Legal Counsel, Inc. Day graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and has a master's degree in Latin American Studies. She lives with her wife and two young children in Portland, Oregon.  

Arielle Gingold joined Bend the arc in 2013. As the Deputy Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Arielle represents the organization on Capitol Hill, to the Administration and in diverse coalitions on issues ranging from religious freedom to voting rights to immigration reform to LGBTQ rights. Prior to joining Bend the Arc, Arielle served as the Deputy Director for Public Policy of Interfaith Alliance developing and executing advocacy strategies on all areas of the organization’s work protecting religious freedom. Arielle also participated in the yearlong Eisendrath Legislative Assistant program at the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism. Born and raised in Jupiter, Florida, Arielle graduated magna cum laude from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science.

Diego was most recently Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Barney Frank until the Representative’s retirement in 2013. Diego made history as the first openly transgender senior staffer on Capitol Hill.  He testified before Congress in the historic Transgender Discrimination Hearing in 2008 and that year was the first openly trans person appointed to the DNC Platform Committee. Prior, he spent 10 years in large nonprofits and 20 award-winning years in global public relations, marketing, and diversity management at world headquarters of Fortune 500 companies and two global PR firms.  Diego was among The 100 Most Powerful Latino/s in Corporate America, an LGBT Latino Hero in DC, in the 100 most powerful Latino/s (Poderometro) in Massachusetts by El Planeta, voted Best Congressional Staffer by QStreet, named to the Out 100 and the Inaugural Trans 100, sponsored by GLAAD.

Return to We Are the Change: The 2017 PFLAG National Convention.