Congress’s First Amendment Defense Act Loses Supporters

Jul 27, 2016

WASHINGTON – In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on marriage, members of Congress introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) to protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom. The original version gained wide support, but recent amendments to the proposed bill have resulted in some pro-family organizations withdrawing their support of FADA.

Authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 171 congressmen in the House and 37 senators in the Senate, the House version of FADA reads as follows:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. (emphasis added) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2802/text?resultIndex=2

Shortly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on FADA on July 12, 2016, the bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Labrador, released a revised version of FADA to include same-sex marriage as a new protected standard. The modified language now states:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two individuals of the opposite sex; or two individuals of the same sex; or extramarital relations are improper. https://labrador.house.gov/uploads/First%20Amendment%20Defense%20Act%20-%20H.R.%202802%20-%20Revised%20ANS%20-%207-7-16.pdf

For the first time, the federal government under the proposed FADA will formerly recognize and condone same-sex marriage on par with the natural marriage.  

Liberty Counsel can no longer support FADA unless the proposed amendment is abandoned and FADA returns to its original language of marriage being between one man and one woman.

“I urge all members of Congress to reject the proposed amendments to the First Amendment Defense Act that include same-sex marriage. Pro-family organizations will no longer be able to support what was once a good bill unless it returns to its original language regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. The last minute hijacking of the otherwise good bill must be reversed to protect people of faith,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

 Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

TAKE ACTION