Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah has just introduced legislation offering a religious “license to discriminate” against gay people and same-sex marriage. The so-called “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” is a direct response to the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of DOMA, a direct challenge to recent news the IRS may tighten rules governing non-profits, and a direct response to Lee’s suggestion that the President will issue an executive order that would force churches, religious institutions, and non-profits to recognize or even consecrate same-sex marriages.
“It is concerning that we have people in this administration who think that religious liberties are just not that big of a deal,” Sen. Lee told the Washington Examiner.
“How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions,” Obama said.
Lee thinks federal officials could work around that promise by trying to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches that support traditional marriage.
“We need not just statements, but we need legislation to protect religious liberty from this kind of potential threat,” he said during the interview.
The legislation would make it legal for any individual, business, and any religious institution to discriminate against a person who is LGBT, who is in a same-sex marriage, or even any person who engages in pre-marital sex.
“This bill protects the rights of individuals and organizations from religious discrimination by the federal government,” Lee said in a statement. “Those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage deserve respect and tolerance. It is critical that we clarify the law to ensure that their fundamental civil liberties are not at risk.”
Ironically, Lee has signed on as an original co-sponsor Louisiana Senator David Vitter, whose involvement with a D.C. prostitution ring is legendary.
Also on board are Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and, of course, Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Think Progress notes “the implications for this legislation are numerous, but could allow businesses to discriminate against employees with a same-sex spouse, government officials to discriminate against same-sex couples filing their taxes jointly, or religiously affiliated hospitals discriminating against patients with same-sex spouses.”
Senator Lee’s website notes his “’Marriage and Religious Freedom Act’ has been endorsed by the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council, National Organization For Marriage, Heritage Action, Concerned Women For America, The Ethics And Religious Liberty Commission Of The Southern Baptist Convention, and Liberty Counsel Action.”
Curiously, Lee does not mention the virulently anti-gay American Family Association, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (Mormon Church), of which he is a member.
Image via Senator Lee’s Facebook page
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