GOP senators reintroduce bill to protect opponents of same-sex marriage

GOP senators reintroduce bill to protect opponents of same-sex marriage
© Greg Nash

A group of 22 GOP senators is reintroducing a controversial measure that would protect opponents of same-sex marriage from federal actions intended to curb discrimination. 

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) would bar the federal government from taking any action against individuals who discriminate against same-sex couples or others based on "a sincerely held religious belief."

The bill would also protect those who discriminate against marriages not recognized under federal law or individuals who engage in sex outside of marriage.

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The measure was introduced by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeUtah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising Senate approves 4B spending bill Overnight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses MORE (R-Utah) and 21 Republican co-sponsors, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' For Poland, a time for justice Judiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh MORE (Fla.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSinger Leon Bridges to join Willie Nelson in performing at O’Rourke rally Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Poll: Beto O'Rourke leads Cruz by 2 points in Texas Senate race MORE (Texas) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (Utah). 

FADA was introduced in both the House and the Senate in 2015, but only received a hearing in the House. 

The bill never advanced to a full vote, however, amid protests from Democrats and concerns among Republicans that then-President Obama would veto the measure if it reached his desk. 

Supporters of the bill say that it is necessary to protect First Amendment guarantees, while opponents argue that it ultimately amounts to an attempt to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination. 

Lee told BuzzFeed News in November 2016 that he planned to reintroduce FADA after President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE took office. 

As a presidential candidate, Trump indicated that he would sign the measure if it were sent to his desk, saying that it would "protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths."