The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Obergefell in June left the first amendment, people of faith, and religious freedom in jeopardy. As activists expand targets for retaliation, increasingly at risk are organizations’ tax exempt status, licensing/certification, and funding.
In July, Republican Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana signed on as a co- sponsor of the “First Amendment Defense Act,” (FADA) authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) would protect the freedom of conscience for faith based organizations that are funded with federal dollars. FADA would protect individuals, business and institutions…
Scalise added the First Amendment Defense Act “helps ensure that Americans are not punished or discriminated against for exercising their constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.”
The President has signaled his position, several times over, when he amended executive orders Executive Order 11478 (Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government) and Executive Order 11246 (Equal Employment Opportunity) to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination.
Besides resistance from the White House, the political Left has formed an organized and deep-pocket opposition to FADA. The Advocate reported that at a $300-a-plate celebratory Gala in Chicago, Chad Griffin President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said:
“The legislation would prevent federal agencies from penalizing individuals, businesses, or organizations for taking actions based on religious or moral opposition to marriage equality, essentially providing a license to discriminate against same-sex couples.”
At the gala, Griffin also noted that HRC’s federal legislative priority in the near future will be passing the Equality Act, a comprehensive bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and a variety of other venues. He added, “It will likely be “the biggest legislative battle in the history of our movement,” he told the gathering.
The Equality Act is by no means the only reason that FADA is so important. It just clarifies the need.