LGBT Activists Not Happy that Senators Plan to Reintroduce First Amendment Defense Act

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Dec 21, 2016 3:15 PM
LGBT Activists Not Happy that Senators Plan to Reintroduce First Amendment Defense Act

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which was introduced with some controversy in 2015, is getting a second wind thanks to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT). The two conservatives plan to reintroduce the bill now that the GOP is in control of the White House and all houses of Congress. The bill, according to its description on the Congress website, would prohibit the government from taking "discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

Opponents claim the legislation would be "devastating" for LGBTQ Americans. More than that, Jennifer Pizer, the law and policy director at Lambda Legal, an organization which claims to defend Americans' civil rights, argues the bill even violates the Constitution.

"This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others," Pizer said, "And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law."

Of course, the bill's sponsors say this is an unfair attack and they are just trying to protect employers' religious freedom.

In 2015, the Democratic-controlled Senate blocked FADA from seeing the light of day. Obviously, Cruz and Lee see an opportunity with the Donald Trump administration. Vice-president elect Mike Pence is sure to be a fan, since he helped enact a similar bill in Indiana last year.