The Disingenuous First Amendment Defense Act Is Indiana on Steroids

What the heck are some members of Congress thinking? 

This spring, Indiana faced a national backlash after the passage of a state law that gave a green light to discrimination and harm under the guise of religious liberty. Now, just a few months later, prominent members of the House of Representatives, as well as leading anti-LGBT organizations, are pushing a bill – disingenuously titled the First Amendment Defense Act – that would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples. 

Its parade of horribles would:

  • allow federal contractors or grantees, including those that provide important social services like homeless shelters or drug treatment programs, to turn away LGBT people or anyone who has an intimate relationship outside of a marriage
    let commercial landlords violate longstanding fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the religious belief that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage
  • permit a university to continue to receive federal financial assistance even when it fires an unmarried teacher simply for becoming pregnant
  • permit government employees to discriminate against married same-sex couples and their families – federal employees could refuse to process tax returns, visa applications, or Social Security checks for all married same-sex couples
  • allow businesses to discriminate by refusing to let gay or lesbian employees care for their sick spouse, in violation of family medical leave laws
     

The bill defines a person to include for-profit corporations, and it would allow anyone to assert “an actual or threatened violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding.” FADA would allow any individual, group, or business, including recipients of federal funds, to file a lawsuit and potentially receive damages from taxpayer money. All they have to do is believe they may somehow be required by the federal government to do something that implicitly condones marriage for same-sex couples or sexual relationships outside of marriage

In addition to all of this, the bill would eviscerate the historic nondiscrimination executive order that President Obama signed last summer to prohibit businesses that contract with the federal government from engaging in discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite the claims of some marriage equality opponents, the First Amendment already protects the rights of churches and clergy to decide which unions to solemnize within their faith traditions. Since the founding of our country, no church has been forced to marry any couple in violation of its religious doctrine and that will not change now that same-sex couples can marry. And, the ACLU would be the first to rise in defense of these religious institutions if government ever tried to do that.

While this bill does nothing to protect individuals’ rights under the First Amendment, it would provide a sweeping right to discriminate in federal law. Leadership in the House of Representatives would be well served to heed the lesson of Indiana and keep this bill far away from the House floor.

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Anonymous

Wow such compassion, much Christian fascism

Chris

All who are adversely affected shall be exempt from taxation in any form.

Anonymous

To Chris: please elaborate.

Anonymous

Chris is referring to "no taxation without representation".

Heather

Or found it be our rights as Americans example sanctions nurses can't be employed have no civil medical or citizenship status Hmm could this be to bad work environment and healthcare and how do they recover guess they DONT!!!!!

Heather Gilbert OK

human Trafficicing is here in Nys not just illegals or drug cartels but our government is to be held same level o regard but my som was taken and so was every thing I ever worked for by well the Judge and DA should be asked they never wanted 1 legal medical or educational tool dis des eased me and made me feel as I am a dirty and not worth loving whore who sleeps around nothing to do with evidence ask how much did kinship and the main grant cost my family or PubMed since the journal that will be known for what it is a Lie and malicious slander one thing even w cognitive impairment I know best is Medicine and that I have faith that's why GOD tells me when to give up w my can ER huh MR Laurence aka hea777@yahoo.com. I will fight for truth ethics people and justice till my last breath so people know I am worth more than your grant money even w o human or civil right take that to Washington!!!!

Anonymous

It is not unjust discrimination to desire that all our beloved sons and daughters be treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. No one should be coerced into condoning the engaging in or affirmation of sexual acts outside of the marital act, which is Life-affirming and Life-sustaining, and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife. It is an act of Love, not bigotry to desire to raise young gentleman and young ladies that are respectful of themselves and others in private as well as in public.

Sodaspop

None of the ACLU points above are true. FADA considers no discrimination as mentioned. It's purpose is to prevent the forcing of sexual orientation onto people which conflict with their beliefs. It does not suggest, legislate or otherwise promote discrimination in the points listed above.

Klingsor

Read the bill. Its provisions allow for *all* those types of discrimination, and more, leaving the federal government powerless to intervene.

MJF

If this proposed bill reserves intimate relationships to marriage, then our President-Elect is already in violation of it (as, I would suspect, are many members of the House) for having intimate extramarital relationships . . . and certainly the President-Elect for allegedly (and by his own admission) assaulting married women. Would the First Amendment Defense Act give us the right to withhold salaries and benefits from the violators because it would implicitly condone their violations? Would it also not allow us to withhold our taxes (an important social service) from those who would pass such a bill? It seems to me that this could be forcefully argued.

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