Members of Congress introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) to protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 landmark ruling on marriage equality.
The original version gained wide support from anti-LGBT groups, but recent amendments to the proposed bill that allows discrimination against straight couples has resulted in some pro-family organizations withdrawing their support of FADA.
The bill was authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 171 congressmen in the House and 37 senators in the Senate. The original House version of FADA reads as follows:
Hours before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on FADA on July 12, 2016, Rep. Labrador released an amended version of FADA to include same-sex marriage as a new protected standard. The modified bill now states:
If passed in its current form, the federal government will formerly recognize and condone same-sex marriage on par with the natural marriage. The bill also legalizes discrimination against people who have had extramarital relations regardless of sexual orientation.
To no one’s surprise, the evangelical “pro-family” groups who had hoped to use the original bill as a vehicle to discriminate against gay people have withdrawn their support for the amended bill because it now targets straight people too.
“I urge all members of Congress to reject the proposed amendments to the First Amendment Defense Act that include same-sex marriage. Pro-family organizations will no longer be able to support what was once a good bill unless it returns to its original language regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. The last minute hijacking of the otherwise good bill must be reversed to protect people of faith,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.