Republicans in the Senate were urged to “have the fortitude” to support religious liberty in the same-sex marriage legislation.
Republican senators are being urged to filibuster a measure legalizing same-sex unions until a clause safeguarding religious liberty is inserted.
The Respect for Marriage Act will result in “more litigation” against organizations and people who think marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman, according to a letter from U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and 20 other GOP senators dated November 17.
The religious liberty amendment, which Lee sponsored, was initially covered by The Daily Signal.
The letter requests that you vote against cloture on the Respect for Marriage Act unless the Lee amendment is included. “The wellbeing of our republic depends utterly on the free exercise of religion.” We must have the courage to defend it.
The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, would be formally repealed under the measure (H.R. 8404), which would define marriage in federal law as a union “between two individuals.”
The majority of the Republicans whose support is required to end a filibuster are the target of the letter. Twelve GOP senators voted in favor of allowing the bill to be debated. Senators Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Cynthia Lummis, Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Dan Sullivan, Thom Tillis, Todd Young, and Mitt Romney made up this group.
The Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges same-sex marriage decision, the letter says, did not “create” a right to sue institutions and individuals who oppose same-sex marriage. But “the Respect for Marriage Act will.”
The letter quotes an oral argument exchange between Donald Verrilli – the solicitor general under President Obama – and Justice Samuel Alito – who voted in the minority against the federal legalization of same-sex marriage.
General Verrilli responded, “It’s obviously going to be a problem, and when Justice Alito asked whether… states should be obliged to accept same-sex weddings, religious universities opposed to same-sex marriage would lose their tax-exempt status, I won’t dispute that. “I don’t dispute that, Justice Alito, but it will be a problem,” the letter claims.
The letter states that if Congress decides to codify Obergefell and safeguard same-sex unions, it must do so in a way that also answers Justice Alito’s query. “Instead of subjecting churches, religious nonprofits, and persons of conscience to undue scrutiny or punishment by the federal government because of their views on marriage, we should make explicitly clear that this legislation does not constitute a national policy endorsing a particular view of marriage that threatens the tax-exempt status of faith-based nonprofits. Let’s be sure to keep churches, religious organizations, and religious colleges and institutions out of court as we go forward. No American should be subjected to legal intimidation or reprisal by the federal government due to sincerely held moral or religious convictions.
In accordance with the letter, the Lee amendment “would ensure that federal bureaucrats do not conduct discriminatory actions against persons, organizations, nonprofits, and other entities based on their honestly held religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage.”