Republican Lawmakers Secretly Amend Anti-Gay First Amendment Defense Act, Forget To Tell Platform Committee
Lawmakers Neglect to Tell Top Advocates Including NOM, Catholic Church, GOP Platform Committee They Changed the First Amendment Defense Act
Thirteen months ago, days before the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, Republican Senator Mike Lee (photo, center) and Republican Congressman Raul Labrador (photo, right) introduced the First Amendment Defense Act. FADA, as it’s known, was designed to allow anti-gay people, groups, organizations, and businesses to ignore the law and discriminateÂ against same-sex couples and LGBT people merely by claiming their religious beliefs require them to do so.Â
FADA was introduced June 17, 2015.
It has been dormant ever since. No hearing. No debate. Nothing, until this week, when its sponsors changed the text, and, for some unknown reason (partisan politics) the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the bill that has never had a hearing. That hearing, coincidentally, was scheduled days after the Orlando mass shooting that left 49 people in a gay bar dead. It was scheduled for the one month anniversary of that anti-LGBT hate crime/mass shooting/terror attack.
The original bill reads, in part:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
For reasons unknown, although likely because the bill is clearly unconstitutional, Labrador and Lee changed the text of the bill to this:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction thatâ€”
(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union ofâ€”
(A) two individuals of the opposite sex; or
(B) two individuals of the same sex; or
(2) extramarital relations are improper.Â
They also didn’t botherÂ to tell anyone that their bill now allows people and companies to discriminate against those who believe marriage is onlyÂ the union ofÂ two individuals of the same sex.
For example, a small business owner under FADA could fire someone after learning they had just been married to someone of the opposite sex, if they claim to have a sincerely held belief that marriage is only theÂ union ofÂ two individuals of the same sex.
TheÂ Family Research Council found out, and after heavily advocating for FADA, today pulled their support.
The change itself is, as Box Turtle Bulletin’sÂ Jim Burroway notes, “a shamÂ and a pretty bizarre one at that…Â Because, you know, there are tons of people that strongly disagree with the Supreme Court ruling upholding marriage equality for opposite-sex couples, right?”Â
The bill is still (likely) unconstitutional.Â
Amusingly, having not noticed the change, the GOP Platform Committee, Â the National Organization For Marriage (NOM) and theÂ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are still heavily advocating for the bill.
Tuesday night, after the change was made, NOM President Brian Brown wrote: “I’ve got some great news: A critical committee of the US House of Representatives today held a pivotal hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), setting the stage for it to move forward to the full House!”
(That’s of course so false it’s embarrassing. There was no vote, the bill was assigned theÂ House Ways and Means Committee, not theÂ House Oversight Committee, and there’s been neither a hearing nor a vote scheduled.)
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:
Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). The USCCB has been vocal in support of this legislation, as it would provide a measure of protection for religious freedom at the federal level. FADA is a modest but important step in ensuring conscience protection to faith-based organizations and people of all faiths and of no faith who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, protecting them from discrimination by the federal government. The increasing intolerance toward religious belief and belief in the conjugal meaning of marriage makes these protections essential for continuing faith-based charitable work, which supports the common good of our society. Faith-based agencies and schools should not lose their licenses or accreditation simply because they hold reasonable views on marriage that differ from the federal government’s view.
The First Amendment Defense Act is likely unconstitutional, definitely immoral, and wholly unnecessary. That its sponsors would play fast and loose with its text days before a hearing on it shows it’s nothing more than a fundraising tool for them.
It will never become law, at least as long as a Democrat holds the White House.
Image: Screenshot via YouTube
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‘Invasion’: Texas Lt. Gov. Likens Border Crossings to Attack on Pearl Harbor – ‘These People Are a Danger to America’
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a far-right Republican, is comparing migrants crossing the border into Texas to Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2335 people. He is calling it an “invasion” and says that gives the state the right to “put hands on people.”
Patrick, who because of Texas’ unique structure is more powerful than the governor, told Fox News on Tuesday, “we are being invaded, and if we’re being invaded under the constitution I think that gives us the power to put hands on people and send them back. Put hands on people and send them back,” he said repeatedly.
“These people are a danger to America,” Patrick said in a rant. It was unclear if he was referring to migrants or President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The Lt. Governor, who has hawked the racist “great replacement theory” repeatedly, and used the term “invasion” repeatedly, told Fox News that Texas is now spending $4 billion annually on the border, while Texas National Guardsmen and Texas Rangers complain of being called up to serve, having to abandon their regular jobs, for no apparent reason.
“This is the biggest danger we have, to your family,” Patrick says of the fentanyl crossing the border. “It’s all on Biden,” he claimed.
Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott drew extensive criticism for using the deaths of more than 50 migrants packed into an 18-wheel tractor-trailer as a political opportunity to attack President Biden. Even some conservatives attacked Abbott for his inhumane remarks..
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick repeatedly says the state’s declaration of an “invasion” of migrants means they can “put hands on people and send them back.”
He then says “we’re being attacked just like we were on Pearl Harbor.” pic.twitter.com/kmcPakR43Z
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 5, 2022
7th Victim of July 4th Mass Shooting Dies
Seven people have now died as a result of a gunman opening fire from a rooftop into an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
The latest victim succumbed to their injuries Tuesday afternoon, NBC 5 Chicago reported. Authorities have not identified all the victims, but have said five of those who died were adults. Another 46 people were wounded.
Police on Tuesday announced that the shooter fired at least 70 rounds into the crowd, using a “high-powered rifle” that is “similar” to a AR-15. They also revealed the suspected gunman planned the attack for weeks, purchased his weapons legally, disguised himself by wearing women’s attire to “conceal his facial tattoos and his identity,” and to “help him during the escape.” He then walked to his mother’s house after the shooting.
Law enforcement Monday evening arrested Robert Crimo, who they say is a “person of interest,” but he has not been charged.
“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community,” Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures. There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they leave behind. Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I grieve with you.”
Giuliani, Graham, Eastman, Others Tied to Trump Subpoenaed by Grand Jury in Georgia Criminal Election Investigation
Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and several others including Cleta Mitchell have been subpoenaed by a Fulton County special grand jury convened to investigate possible criminal actions or interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections.
Giuliani, Eastman, Ellis, and Mitchell, along with Kenneth Chesbro, are all members of Donald Trump’s legal team or advised the former president “on strategies for overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s wins in Georgia and other swing states,” and are now being subpoenaed, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Senator Graham (R-SC) has publicly admitted to contacting the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Also subpoenaed is attorney and podcast host Jacki Pick Deason.
“The 23-person special grand jury has heard testimony in recent weeks from a parade of witnesses, including some who had direct contact with Trump and his associates. But Tuesday’s subpoenas are the closest jurors have gotten to the inner circle of the former president,” the Journal-Constitution adds.
Eastman, the infamous author of the “coup memo,” is a former law professor and the current chairman of the anti-LGBTQ group National Organization For Marriage (NOM), which has never disavowed his actions.
“A federal judge in March,” the AJC adds, “argued that ‘it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.'”
In the days after the November 2020 election, The Washington Post reported, Sen. Graham “questioned Raffensperger about the state’s signature-matching law and whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with nonmatching signatures, according to Raffensperger. Graham also asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures, Raffensperger said.”
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