Sweeping Anti-Gay Bill Being Pushed by NOM and Religious Extremists
A federal bill that would give special rights and protections to anyone who claims to have a deeply-held religious conviction against LGBT people has been scheduled for a hearing in the House on the one month anniversary of the nation's worst anti-LGBT hate crime, which was also the worst terror attack since 9/11 and the deadliest mass shooting in modern times.
The powerful House Oversight Committee Chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz, has scheduled a hearing for the First Amendment Defense Act (FAFA) for July 12, one month to the day of the attack on Pulse, an Orlando gay nightclub, as blogger Joe Jervis first noted.
The bill was first introduced in the House one year ago, and has sat dormant until now. The hearing is being denounced as "nothing more than an election-year stunt to rally conservatives at the expense of LGBT Americans," by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
"In most states, you can get married on Saturday, post photos of your wedding to Facebook on Sunday and then get fired or kicked out of your apartment on Monday just because you're gay," Cicilline said, as Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade reports. "FADA exacerbates this injustice by allowing religion to be used as a blanket excuse for denying LGBT people access to employment, housing, mental health care, emergency shelters and other essential services. This is wrong. Fairness and equality are core American values."
The bill, if passed, literally would give license to anyone to refuse to interact with, serve or do business with any adult who is not in a different-sex monogamous marriage, unless they can prove they are not having or have not ever had sex.
The First Amendment Defense Act "prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage," according to a summary.
Currently, only anti-gay witnesses have been invited to testify before Chairman Chaffetz's committee hearing on July 12, as the Blade reports. They include heroes of the anti-gay religious right, including former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, fired for not obtaining permission to publish and distribute to his employees a virulently anti-gay book steeped in religious dogma, while using his title and position to promote the book. Also invited is Alliance Defending Freedom's Kristen Waggoner, who represents Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who refused to provide flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding and refused to settle the case for $1000. Waggoner repeatedly and falsely claims Stutzman may lose her home, business, and life savings because she refused to sell flowers to a same-sex couple.
NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, has been pushing for lawmakers to pass the bills and fundraising off their efforts to do so.
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