Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex marriage is legal under the Constitution, a group of Republican Senators are now trying to make it easier for anyone to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), along with 21 GOP co-sponsors, including Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced Thursday that they will reintroduce the controversial First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would bar federal authorities from taking legal action against anyone who discriminate against LGBT Americans on the basis of “a sincerely held religious belief.”
In addition, FADA would also provide protection for anyone who discriminates against a person married under any statute recognized under federal law or anyone who engages in sex outside of marriage.
This is the second time Senate Republicans have tried to pass FADA. The first was in 2015, when the legislation considered only in the House of Representatives.
Why is such a blatantly discriminatory law necessary? Supporters say it provides protections granted to everyone under the First Amendment. Opponents have argued that FADA is merely an attempt to codify discrimination against the American LGBT community.
Where does President Trump stand on the legislation? After initially saying he would was in favor of gay rights during the 2016 campaign, Trump now indicates that he would sign the FADA bill if it makes it to his desk, arguing that it would “protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”
Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, had this to say about FADA:
“There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together. It’s an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period.”
If indeed this controversial bill does become law, expect the legal fight to eventually wind up before the Supreme Court.