This week Focus on the Family joined a coalition effort led by Alliance Defending Freedom, calling on the U.S. Senate to protect people of faith and traditional marriage by rejecting H.R. 8404, the deceptively titled “Respect for Marriage Act.”

The Act is a calculated political move to discriminate against people of faith who support God’s design for marriage.

This legislation was rushed through the House last week and passed by a vote of 267 to 157 without any public hearings.

Proponents of the measure say they are codifying same-sex marriage under federal law, but according to the coalition letter sent to the Senate this week, the Act “is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman….”

Signatories of the letter say that the measure would do much more than codify same-sex marriage under federal law; it would attempt to “shut down any disagreement, silencing those with the long-held conviction that marriage between one man and one woman is essential to human flourishing….”

Three significant areas of concern noted in the letter are:

  1. The bill would require that federal law recognize any definition of marriage a state recognizes. This could include plural marriages, open marriages, marriages with minors, marriages with relatives, or any new definition of marriage a state decides to recognize. This would impact federal law regarding benefits, marriage, and rights of parents and children.
  2. This Act would give activist groups the right to sue religious organizations, businesses, and even individuals because of their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman when they participate in a joint activity with the government. Some joint activities include faith-based foster care providers, religious social service organizations, and any religious organizations that contract with the government to provide a service.
  3. The IRS could use this measure which requires recognition of same-sex marriage, to remove tax-exempt status from religious organizations that believe marriage is between one man and one woman.

In addition to Focus on the Family and Alliance Defending Freedom, other signatories to the coalition letter include many national and state organizations such as Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Samaritan’s Purse, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Family Policy Alliance, Ethics & Public Policy Center, Concerned Women for America, First Liberty Institute, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, and many state policy groups. The complete list of signatories may be found here.

H.R. 8404 could be voted on in the Senate as soon as this week, and there may be enough votes to pass it.

The bill’s broad and unnecessary language threatens the rights of millions of religious Americans and we must act to stop its passage in the Senate.

It is critical to contact Republican senators and urge them to protect marriage and defeat this dangerous bill.

Contact your senators today and tell them to vote “NO” on H.R. 8404.


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