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2016-JUL: The federal FADA:
(First Amendment Defense Act):

2016-JUL: Part 5 of six parts:

FADA loses support. Anti-marriage
equality group is "disappointed."
Potential impacts of FADA if passed.
Explanation of FADA in a nutshell.
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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2016-JUL: Some former organizations that had supported the FADA bill removed their support:.

  • 2016-JUL-13: FRC Action, an affiliate of the Family Research Council (FRC) no longer supports the FADA bill because of the amendments made by the bill's main sponsors. The FRC president, Tony Perkins, uses the term "natural marriage" to refer to marriage restricted to one woman and one man. The implication seems to be that the marriage of two persons of the same sex is "unnatural." Perkins said:

    "Unfortunately, the proposed language of FADA was changed late last week by bill sponsors in response to criticism to make it protect the view that marriage is the union of “two individuals of the same sex” as well as the view that it is “two individuals of the opposite sex.” The hearing made clear that this “two views” approach has done nothing to mitigate opposition to or win support for FADA.

    The Court’s ruling and the Obama administration is already promoting such views, but natural marriage supporters are not protected from government punishment at all. Rep. Bonnie Waston Coleman’s (D-NJ) commented that this “two views” version of FADA, which was meant to appease the Left, is a “facade”. It is unfortunate that the bill sponsors decided to affirm the Court’s redefinition when it is clear the Left does not want a live and let live policy which the original version of FADA supported.

    That policy and reference to FADA’s nondiscrimination protections for supporters of natural marriage was added in two places to the conservative GOP platform! Members of Congress should not be asked to implicitly affirm the Supreme Court’s illegitimate decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in order to protect religious liberty or conscience rights, a message that was clearly articulated in the GOP platform this week. Because of the weakened language of the bill FRC has reluctantly withdrawn its support for FADA. 1

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  • 2016-JUL-28: Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal defense agency also withdrew their support for FADA. They issued a press release, saying:

    "In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on marriage, members of Congress introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) to protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom. The original version gained wide support, but recent amendments to the proposed bill have resulted in some pro-family organizations withdrawing their support of FADA.

    Authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 171 congressmen in the House and 37 senators in the Senate, the House version of FADA reads as follows:

    '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.'

    Shortly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on FADA on July 12, 2016, the bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Labrador, released a revised version of FADA to include same-sex marriage as a new protected standard. The modified language now states:

    '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 that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two individuals of the opposite sex; or two individuals of the same sex; or extramarital relations are improper.'

    For the first time, the federal government under the proposed FADA will formerly recognize and condone same-sex marriage on par with the natural marriage. Liberty Counsel can no longer support FADA unless the proposed amendment is abandoned and FADA returns to its original language of marriage being between one man and one woman.

    'I urge all members of Congress to reject the proposed amendments to the First Amendment Defense Act that include same-sex marriage. Pro-family organizations will no longer be able to support what was once a good bill unless it returns to its original language regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. The last minute hijacking of the otherwise good bill must be reversed to protect people of faith,' said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. 2,3

Webmaster's comment: [bias alert]:

Liberty Counsel's press release is clearly in error in their second last paragraph. The U.S. Supreme Court is part of the Federal Government, and it recognized and condoned same-sex marriage on a par with opposite-sex marriage in their ruling in the case Obergefell v. Hodges in mid-2015 when the High Court legalized same-sex marriage.

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2016-JUL-29: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is "Disappointed:"

NOM has been the main national organization fighting against marriage equality. Their cause suffered a major setback on 2015-JUN-26 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriages in all 50 states, in the District of Columbia, and in four out of the five U.S. territories. (The exception was the Territory of American Samoa where most of the population are considered American residents, not American citizen. The rulings of the High Court do not necessarily apply there.)

NOM announced that their Summer Membership Drive is not going well. It is only bringing in about half of the donations that they need to:

".. to generate the resources we need to carry on our essential work fighting for marriage and religious liberty." 4

By the term "fighting for marriage" they apparently refer to rolling back the 2015-JUN High Court ruling and make marriage once more unavailable to same-sex couples. By the term "religious liberty" they mean the religious freedom to freely discriminate against people and couples on the basis of their sexual orientation. In practice, that is against the LGBT community.

NOM reported that:

"The fight for marriage and religious liberty sits on a knife-edge, teetering between preservation and devastating loss. ... I don't mean to be dramatic, but the fact of the matter is that all our plans for the rest of the year are in jeopardy unless we get a strong response to our Summer Membership Drive. ..."

"We've also been keeping up pressure in Congress via a petition to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to move the very important First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) toward a full vote in the House." 4

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Some potential Impacts of FADA if it were to become law as originally written:

As a result of the withdrawal of support for FADA by two of its main conservative Christian agencies, the fate of the amended version of FADA appears hopeless. However, FADA as it was originally worded might possibly survive. If it was passed by Congress and arrived on the desk of a Republican President in the future, it would probably be signed into law.

If state versions of FADA were also implemented, then people, non-profits, for-profit public accommodations, corporations, etc. would be free to legally discriminate against same-sex married couples and sexually active singles with no risk of prosecution. The only limitations are that the discriminatory action must be based upon the perpetrator's sincere religious or moral beliefs.

Some impacts would probably be:

  • County clerks could refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples with impunity.

  • Drug stores and their employees could refuse to sell contraceptives to persons who are not married, and then stand back and watch the local abortion and STI rates soar.

  • State, municipal, and federal Human Rights laws would no longer protect couples in same-sex marriages, unmarried couples who are sexually active, etc. from religiously-motivated discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign -- the leading LGBT-positive organization -- listed additional impacts of a FADA law:

  • Federal contractors would once more be able to discriminate against employees who are married to a same-sex spouse. President Obama's Executive Order #11,246 would be nullified.

  • Hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid could refuse to refuse visiting privileges to a same-sex spouse of a patient.

  • Shelters for homeless people who receive grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could throw same-sex married couples and any sexually active unmarried couple out on the street with impunity and without risk of losing their grants.

  • Shelters receiving funding from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) could turn away victims of family violence who are in a same-sex marriage.

  • Landlords could violate fair housing laws by refusing housing to single mothers or same-sex couples.

  • Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act employees are guaranteed 12 weeks leave of absence due to personal illness or the need to care for an ill spouse. Non-profit organizations and some for-profit companies could deny employees in gay marriages and sexually-active singles this right. 5

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "JoeMyGod," "FRC Withdraws Support For FADA Because New Language Also Legalizes Anti-Straight Discrimination," JoeMyGod.com, 2016-JUL-13, at: http://www.joemygod.com/
  2. "Congress’s First Amendment Defense Act Loses Supporters," Liberty Counsel, 2016-JUL-27, at: http://www.lc.org/
  3. "JoeMyGod," "Liberty Counsel Yanks Support For FADA Because New Language Also Legalizes Anti-Straight Discrimination, JoeMyGod.com, 2016-JUL-28, at: http://www.joemygod.com/
  4. "Disappointed," National Organization for Marriage, 2016-JUL-29, at: http://www.nomblog.com/
  5. Hayley Miller, "So-Called First Amendment Defense Act Would Roll Back Critical Protections for LGBTQ People," Human Rights Campaign, 2016-JUL-09, at: https://www.hrc.org/
  6. Stephen Peters, "Anti-LGBT So-Called “First Amendment Defense Act” Would Have Dangerous & Far-Reaching Consequences," Human Rights Campaign, 2016-JUL-17, at: http://www.hrc.org/

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Copyright © 2015 & 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2016-JUL-30
Latest update: 2016-JUL-31
Author: B.A. Robinson
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