Senate

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 Lee (R-Utah) and 21 Republican co-sponsors, including Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Orrin Hatch (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 Trump 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.”

Tags Donald Trump First Amendment Defense Act Marco Rubio Mike Lee Orrin Hatch Ted Cruz

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