Opposition Not Fading After FADA Concession

Barb Wire

During oral arguments at the Supreme Court last year regarding the same-sex redefinition of “marriage,” the Solicitor General of the U.S. was asked if a religious school might lose tax-exempt status for opposing such a redefinition.

“It’s certainly going to be an issue,” he admitted. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (“FADA”) to prohibit the federal government from discriminating against those who believe in one-man, one-woman marriage. This FRC-supported proposal, H.R. 2802, finally got a hearing Tuesday in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg attended the hearing, in which a panel of supporters emphasizing the limited scope of the bill’s provisions in only protecting against government discrimination. Opponents had particular difficulty with countering the testimony of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, an African American who overcame racial discrimination early in his career, but ended up being fired by Atlanta’s liberal mayor because a few lines in a 160-page book he wrote on his own time and his own expense for a men’s Bible study, which expressed support for a biblical view of marriage and sexuality. As has become the modus operandi of the liberals, they ignored the facts of a real-life example of government discrimination, and offered instead a series of hysterical hypotheticals and scenarios they claim would be triggered by the bill.

Unfortunately, the proposed language of FADA was changed late last week by bill sponsors in response to criticism to make it protect the view that marriage is the union of “two individuals of the same sex” as well as the view that it is “two individuals of the opposite sex.” The hearing made clear that this “two views” approach has done nothing to mitigate opposition to or win support for FADA. The Court’s ruling and the Obama administration is already promoting such views, but natural marriage supporters are not protected from government punishment at all. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s (D-N.J.) commented that this “two views” version of FADA, which was meant to appease the Left, is a “facade”. It is unfortunate that the bill sponsors decided to affirm the Court’s redefinition when it is clear the Left does not want a live and let live policy which the original version of FADA supported. That policy and reference to FADA’s nondiscrimination protections for supporters of natural marriage was added in two places to the conservative GOP platform! Members of Congress should not be asked to implicitly affirm the Supreme Court’s illegitimate decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in order to protect religious liberty or conscience rights, a message that was clearly articulated in the GOP platform this week. Because of the weakened language of the bill FRC has reluctantly withdrawn its support for FADA.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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