Anti-discrimination Bill, The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, Introduced in House

September 21, 2013

Congressman Raúl Labrador and more than 60 cosponsors (61 Republicans, 2 Democrats) have just introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act in the House.  One thing we can all agree on, perhaps, is that the federal government shouldn’t discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of their beliefs.

Read about it on the congressman’s Web site: “Labrador Leads Bipartisan Coalition in Introducing Marriage and Religious Freedom Act”

“Regardless of your ideology, we can all agree about the importance of religious liberty in America,” said Rep. Labrador.  “Our bill will protect freedom of conscience for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  This is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  As President Obama said, ‘Americans hold a wide range of views’ on marriage and ‘maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom’ is ‘vital.’ We agree.”

The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains what the law will and won’t do.

There are a growing number of reports of individual and organizations holding such beliefs being targeted for discrimination by state governments.  This bill would prevent the federal government from engaging in similar discrimination.

Examples:

. . . a bill was introduced in the California legislature at the beginning of this year to strip the Boy Scouts of their state tax exemption based on the Scouts’ decision not to have adult men who are homosexually active serve as Scout leaders.  The bill would also have revoked the tax-exempt status of other youth organizations that hold to an authentic sexual morality, including organizations affiliated with Catholic schools.

Recently, in New Mexico, the State Supreme Court ruled that a husband and wife who own and operate a photography studio must act against their religious beliefs and take the photographs of a same-sex commitment ceremony, if they want to do business in the state.

The protections would apply to everyone, not just churches.

Importantly, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would protect a wide array of persons, including individuals and organizations — both for-profits and non-profits — regardless of whether or not they are religiously affiliated.

The USCCB definitely favors such a bill.

Archbishop Lori agreed and added, “I strongly support the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act. In a growing climate of intolerance against individuals and organizations who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, this Act is an important step in preserving their religious liberties at the federal level.”

So does the Heritage Foundation.

Even in jurisdictions that have redefined marriage, those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman should be free to live in accord with their moral and religious convictions.

But in a growing number of incidents, government has not left these Americans free.

Hat tip to the National Organization for Marriage (in an e-mail).

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