Following the midterms, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is rushing the Senate to pass the falsely named “Respect for Marriage Act,” H.R. 8404, which previously passed the House in July.

As the Daily Citizen has previously reported here, here, here, here and here, H.R. 8404 is a deceptive and dangerous bill that enshrines same-sex “marriage” into federal law and threatens religious freedom.

The bill:

  • Further embeds a false definition of marriage in the American legal fabric;
  • Opens the door to federal recognition of polygamous relationships;
  • Jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman;
  • Endangers faith-based social service organizations by threatening litigation and liability risk if they follow their views on marriage when working with the government.

The bill, which passed the House with all Democrats and 47 Republicans voting for it, was postponed in the Senate, which likely couldn’t muster the 60 votes necessary to move it forward under that chamber’s rules.

But a small, misguided coalition of Democrats and Republicans have been working on an “amendment” to H.R. 8404 that supposedly addresses conservatives’ fears about religious freedom and is designed to sway at least 10 Republicans into joining the 50 Senate Democrats to pass it.

The new text is here and a one-pager explanation is here.

But the “amendment” has been reviewed by our legal friends at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and been revealed as a smokescreen that doesn’t really address conservatives’ concerns over religious freedom.

ADF’s analysis of the original bill and its latest text is worth reading in full. But here are the highlights:

There are no real protections for religious individuals or organizations:

“Rather than adding any new concrete protections for religious individuals and organizations threatened by the Respect for Marriage Act, the new section simply states that those Americans whose beliefs are infringed can invoke already existing legal protections, like the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

“As such, this new provision does not fix the bill’s negative impact on religious exercise and freedom of conscience. Those targeted under the bill will be forced to spend years in litigation and thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees to protect their rights.”

The amendment leaves numerous religious social-service organizations vulnerable:

“The proposed amendment adds language that confirms that churches and religious organizations would not be forced to solemnize or celebrate a marriage against their sincerely held religious beliefs.

“Unfortunately, this proposed provision ignores the true threats to religious organizations. No one thinks the Respect for Marriage Act requires churches to solemnize marriages.

“The real problem is that the bill can be used to punish social-service organizations like adoption or foster placement agencies that serve their communities in accordance with their religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The proposed amendment does nothing to help such organizations.”

The amendment fails to address concerns over nonprofits’ tax-exempt status:

“The amendment adds a new section that attempts to address concerns about the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that live out their beliefs about marriage.

“Once again, the amendment fails to substantively remedy this problem. When the IRS determines whether an organization is ‘charitable’ under the Internal Revenue Code, it asks whether the entity’s conduct is ‘contrary to public policy’ or violates a ‘national policy.’

“If the Respect for Marriage Act were enacted, the IRS could rely upon the bill to conclude that certain nonprofits are not ‘charitable.’ The amendment’s new provision does nothing to prevent this.

“Unfortunately, the proposed amendment utterly fails to meaningfully address the serious religious freedom problems with the Respect for Marriage Act. The inclusion of provisions that purport to address religious freedom concerns may be a sign that senators heard the criticisms of the bill, but the hollow nature of the amendment demonstrates they do not understand the depth of the concerns being raised.”

Make Your Voice Heard – Contact Your Senators

Here’s what you can do to save marriage and religious freedom from the effects of this dangerous bill: Please call or contact your senators and respectfully ask them to Vote “NO” on H.R. 8404, the “Respect for Marriage Act.” You can either call their Senate offices directly through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or you can use the Senate website directory found here.

And thank you for your continuing support for marriage and our constitutional freedoms!


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