Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) reintroduced on Thursday the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that would provide a range of federal protections for individuals and companies that discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Framed as a religious liberty measure, the legislation aims to prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory” action against a person for speaking or acting in accordance with a sincerely held religious or moral belief against same-sex marriage, polygamy or sexual relations outside of marriage.
The government itself would be barred from disfavoring such people in terms of tax status, grants, contracts, loans, licenses, employment, benefits, access to facilities, and a long list of other federal goodies.
And the bill defines the term “person” to include nonpublicly traded for-profit companies.
“What an individual or organization believes about the traditional definition of marriage is not ― and should never be ― a part of the government’s decision-making process when distributing licenses, accreditations, or grants,” Lee said in a statement on Thursday.
The bill, he argued, would ensure that “federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status.”
LGBTQ advocates warn that the First Amendment Defense Act could set a dangerous precedent for what is protected under the banner of religious freedom. David Stacy, government affairs director for the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said the bill’s protections would amount to “state-sanctioned discrimination.”
Read the full story at The Huffington Post