Equality Caucus: Hearing planned for 'religious freedom' bill

Equality Caucus: Hearing planned for 'religious freedom' bill
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House lawmakers are planning a hearing on legislation that would allow businesses and nonprofits to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus claims.

A senior staffer told The Hill that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent invitations to witnesses last week that listed July 12 as the hearing date for the First Amendment Defense Act, authored by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

The committee's press office would not confirm the hearing.

Supporters of the GOP-backed bill, introduced last year after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, say it prohibits federal agencies from taking action against individuals, organizations, nonprofits and other entities who act on their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“This hearing is nothing more than an election-year stunt to rally conservatives at the expense of LGBT Americans,” LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a statement. 

“Let’s be clear — there is no religious basis to deny basic rights and liberties to someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Period."