The First Amendment Defense Act, commonly known as FADA, has been reintroduced in Congress by Senator Mike Lee of Utah and 21 other Republicans — despite being called “harmful,” “discriminatory” and the “vilest anti-LGBT religious freedom bill of our time” by gay rights advocates.
The bill, Lee said, is “designed to prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals or institutions based on their beliefs about marriage.”
“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. “The First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always be true in America — 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.”
The bill was last introduced in the House and Senate in 2015 but did not make it out of committee. Jeff Sessions, now attorney general and then a senator from Alabama, was one of FADA’s original sponsors, and in December 2016, President-elect Donald Trump said he would support the legislation.
Donald Haider-Markel, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, said the reintroduction of FADA may be more of a political calculation by Republicans than a real attempt at getting the bill passed.
“It gets them on the record in favor, and they get a ‘no’ vote to pin on those Democrats in the general election,” Haider-Markel said, adding that “it’s just as important for some Republicans to get a ‘yes’ vote on the record” to enhance their conservative credentials to stave off primary challengers from the right.
Read the full story at NBC News