Marriage in America will not be the same after President Biden puts his signature on the oxymoronic “Respect for Marriage Act.” Respecting marriage means honoring the God-ordained union of one man and one woman, not what powerful activists and politicians decide it is at any given time.
The U.S. House is expected to pass the bill as early as next week and send it to President Biden to sign. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday 61-36, requiring all states to acknowledge most marriages that other states deem legal, with the exception of polygamy. An amendment designed to protect religious freedom and those who hold to a historic and biblical view of marriage failed to garner the 60 votes needed.
Senator Mike Lee’s amendment would have prohibited the federal government from discriminating based on a person’s view of marriage – whether same-sex or traditional. Nearly half, 49 U.S. Senators voted against it, essentially favoring federal government discrimination against people who hold to a traditional or biblical view of marriage. Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly both voted against protecting religious freedom. Eleven Republicans voted for the religious protections, but then also voted for the bill even without those protections.
When Senator Lee filed the amendment to preserve religious freedom, LGBTQ activists cried, “We’re settling for crumbs.” Politicians promised them the act was only the beginning because the movement is not satisfied with codifying same-sex marriage into federal law as long as there is room for dissent; they want full compliance, regardless of religious beliefs.
The so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” goes beyond Obergefell, the Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The new marriage act repeals the bipartisan 1996 Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage between a man and a woman – which passed overwhelmingly and was signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. The “Respect for Marriage Act” also equates same-sex marriage with interracial marriage. Some legal experts warn this is a key step in the effort to eventually equate the dissent of same-sex marriage with racism, inevitably leading to further government crackdown.
The bill has exceptions for churches and other places of worship, but not other religiously based organizations. It also threatens the tax-exempt status of such organizations. The fate of religious creative professionals like wedding photographers, bakers, and designers, is uncertain. Current religious protections have done precious little to keep designers out of court fighting for their religious and conscience rights. Washington florist, Barronelle Stutzman lost her livelihood; Colorado baker, Jack Phillips is in a perpetual state of litigation to save his, and now Lorie Smith heads to the U.S. Supreme Court next week in an effort to hold onto her constitutionally protected right to live and work according to her deeply held beliefs.
Arizonans should take note not only of Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s votes against religious freedom and for redefining marriage, but also of her leadership role in crafting the legislation. Further, Senate Democrats intentionally waited until after the November 8 election to bring the bill to the floor, enabling Arizona Senator Mark Kelly to avoid voting on it prior to his re-election bid. Twelve Senate Republicans enabled this legislation to pass under the false pretense that religious freedom was protected.
Religious Freedom on the U.S. Supreme Court Docket
Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom will present oral arguments Monday on behalf of Smith, who is fighting the coercive arm of the Colorado government to compel Smith’s speech and expression.
Smith is a Christian who also happens to be a website designer. Although she serves and works with those who identify as LGBTQ, she cannot create website designs that violate her Christian beliefs, including same-sex weddings.
Colorado law forces Smith to create messages contrary to her deeply held beliefs. So, she has fought all the way to the Supreme Court to protect her livelihood, her right to exercise her religion, and her right to free speech.
I joined an amicus brief asking the Court to uphold Smith’s First Amendment right of free speech, and I will be listening to arguments Monday. Join me and others as we listen to the live stream here at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
The Court will make its ruling before June of next year. Read ADF’s op-ed on why a win at the Supreme Court for Lorie Smith is a win for all Americans – even those who disagree with her.
- Read here about the price children pay for the capitulation to same-sex marriage.
- Read here about the rush to pass the “Respect for Marriage Act” and the consequences of forcing such a monumental piece of legislation.
- Read here how activists vandalized Focus on the Family, blaming the Christian organization for a deadly shooting at a LGBTQ night club, despite the fact the suspect calls himself non-binary.
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