This week over 400 progressive “conservative” leaders and more than 200 businesses released letters addressed to the U.S. Senate urging them to support a bill that would open the door to discrimination against Christians who support traditional marriage.

The letters were coordinated efforts by the LGBT lobby to persuade U.S. Senate Republicans to support H.R. 8404, the deceptively titled “Respect for Marriage Act.”

The letter from self-identified “Republicans, Libertarians, and politically independent conservatives” calls on the U.S. Senate to pass H.R. 8404 to reaffirm so-called settled law on same-sex marriage. But the letter fails to address the religious liberty concerns raised by opponents.

Many well-known current, former and aspiring Republican lawmakers are signatories to the letter, including the Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker.

Other notable signers include Ken Mehlman, former Republican National Committee Chair and former director of the Office of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush White House, as well as Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush.

Some of the former U.S. Representatives who signed the letter include Mike Coffman (CO), Bob Inglis (SC), Mary Bono (CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Jim Kolbe (AZ) and others. Go here for the complete list.

Simultaneously, a letter from more than 200 businesses also called on the U.S. Senate to pass the measure and again failed to address religious liberties concerns raised by opponents.

Signatories to the business letter included Walmart, Target, Amazon, Google, Disney, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, Twitter, General Mills, Nike, Starbucks, Paypal, Pfizer, CVS, Apple, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, REI, Salesforce, Adobe, Shutterstock, TIAA, Pepsi, Bank of America, Hilton, Marriott, Macy’s, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Lyft, Uber, and many others. Click here to view the complete list.

Proponents claim the bill would simply codify same-sex marriage under federal law.

But opponents contend that the measure does far more than that and is a calculated political move to target Christians and Christian organizations that subscribe to the traditional definition of marriage.

In July, Focus on the Family joined a coalition effort asking members of the U.S. Senate to protect people of faith and reject H.R. 8404.

The letter circulated by opponents to the measure identified three significant areas of religious liberty concern.

  1. It would require the federal government to recognize any definition of marriage a state acknowledges (like plural marriages or even marriages involving a minor or a relative).
  2. The bill would give activists the right to sue religious individuals, organizations, and businesses who hold to a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
  3. The IRS could use this bill to remove tax-exempt status from religious non-profits that believe in traditional marriage.

Public pressure is mounting because Senate leadership plans to bring the bill to the floor soon, and the LGBTQ lobby believes they may be able to sway the needed ten Republican votes required to move the bill to a final vote.

According to Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to consider a measure for a final vote. Once a bill makes it to a final vote, a simple majority is all that is needed for passage.


Photo from Shutterstock.