A bill that seemed impossible to pass during the presidency of Barack Obama is now being re-introduced in the Senate. Senator Mike Lee re-introduced the First Amendment Defense Act this week in the Senate.
The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is a bill designed to prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals or institutions based on their beliefs about marriage or premarital sex. The First Amendment Defense Act does not alter public accommodations or employment law, or laws relating to public housing. Instead, the FADA creates a course of action in federal court for plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and compensatory damages.
A press release from Senator Mike Lee’s office says:
“What an individual or organization believes about the traditional definition of marriage is not – and should never be – a part of the government’s decision-making process when distributing licenses, accreditations, or grants,” Sen. Lee said. “And the First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always be true in America – that federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status.”
The First Amendment Defense Act is not to discriminate against gay people, but to protect businesses and institutions. Many businesses have codes of conduct that include sexual ethic codes of conduct. Forcing an organization to promote an ideology or hire an employee with a conflicting worldview in regards to that sexual ethic codes of conduct would be a violation of that businesses’ First Amendment rights.
The press release also states that “there are currently 21 co-sponsors on the Senate bill, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Thune (R-SD), Rand Paul (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Boozman (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Jerry Moran (R-KS).”