A coalition of businesses, including Google and Amazon have criticised proposed legislation in Texas which would protect employees from having to act against their conscience on certain issues.
Currently, professionals could be required to act contrary to their beliefs on issues such as abortion and sexuality.
Some businesses claim it legalises “discrimination”, but Texas State Senator Charles Perry’s new Bill is designed to reinforce freedom of religion.
The new religious freedom Bill is intended to give greater protections to “free exercise of religion” and “freedom of speech regarding a sincerely held religious belief”.
The proposed legislation could protect licensed professionals such as doctors, accountants, lawyers and counsellors from disciplinary action.
Under the Bill, there may be greater legal freedom for professionals to decline to conduct same-sex marriages, choose to maintain sex-based segregations in toilets, and refuse to perform abortions.
‘Defend their faith’
Senator Perry fears that Christians are unable to practise their faith openly in the public square without facing consequences.
He said: “Living our faith does not stop when we start to work.
“When we see what we may perceive as immoralities, those people who hold those beliefs should be able to defend their faith… without fear of losing their livelihood and their license.”
But businesses and corporations including Google, Amazon and IBM claim that the law is “unnecessary, discriminatory, and divisive”.
Senator Perry responded, saying all employees must still “abide by the standard of care in their profession”.
It comes as US Democrats introduced an updated version of their Equality Act, which would elevate protections for sexual orientation over religious liberty.