A Republican Senator who introduced a bill to protect the rights of religious people to express disapproval of gay marriage without fear of government reprisal has backed down.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has added an amendment to the First Amendment Defense Act to protect gay marriage from discrimination. The bill currently sits at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Liberty Counsel supported this bill with the original language,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Now that he has insisted that the language be changed, we will not only withdraw our support but we will actively oppose the bill.”
LC is an international non-profit public policy and litigation organization focused on religious freedom, sanctity of life, and sanctity of marriage
The First Amendment Defense Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, was supposed to ensure religious people with “sincerely held beliefs” in opposition to same-sex marriage could continue to express those beliefs without reprisal from the federal government.
The fact that we need new laws to allow people to express their religious beliefs is ridiculous. We already have a law for that – the First Amendment. But the radical left has hijacked it with gender-neutral pronouns and so-called “hate speech.”
In response, Republicans, including Mike Lee, have stepped up their fight to protect free expression – or so we thought.
The original language of Lee’s bill reads: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
Lee, though, insisted on an amendment changing the meaning of the bill significantly. The new bill reads, in pertinent part: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person speaks, or acts, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction, that— (1) marriage is or should be recognized as a union of— (A) one man and one woman; or (B) two individuals as recognized under Federal law; or (2) sexual relations outside marriage are improper” (emphasis added).
Staver said that if the bill is passed, this will be the first time that federal law will codify language recognizing that marriage can exist between same sex couples.
Basically, the bill defines marriage as whatever the federal government says marriage is, and offers no protection for those who wish to express their belief in traditional marriage, rendering its original intent useless.
Sen. Lee’s office did not return a request for comment in time for publication.