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Paul Hayden

The Respect For Marriage Act, Disrespects Religious Liberty And Conscience Rights

December 5, 2022

Don’t be deceived by the "Respect for Marriage Act" - its description belies its devious intent.

In September 1996 the “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, even though he spoke out against it. It passed through Congress by a large majority, defeating any attempted presidential veto. It defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and gave states the option of refusing to recognize same-sex marriage. 

In two rulings “United States vs. Windsor” (2013), and “Obergefell vs. Hodges” (2015), the Supreme Court overruled (DOMA) requiring all states to recognize same-sex marriage as a fundamental right. This has been for almost a decade accepted by most states; there hasn’t been any outright challenge or opposition to the ruling. But its longevity has now come into question.  

This past May (2022) the Supreme Court in the Dobbs vs. Jackson decision overturned Roe vs. Wade. Justice Clarence Thomas in a concurrent decision stated that perhaps the Court would look back and revisit other past rulings, like Same-Sex Marriage. The abortion ruling and Thomas’ incursion, according to some, into what are for many widely accepted and sacrosanct cultural norms, was the last straw.

Since the decision, Democrats, the left, the media, and the Biden administration and its Department of Justice (DOJ) have been engaged in a vendetta against the conservative justices on the court, for both the abortion reversal and Justice Thomas’ supposed threat against same-sex marriage. Democrats avoiding a potential backlash from socially conservative voters - who believe only in traditional values and institutions, such as marriage between one man and one woman - waited until after the midterm election to introduce the “Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404) in the Senate, which will codify same-sex marriage into law.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” was actually passed in the House of Representatives in July of 2022 with bipartisan support. It then proceeded to the senate, where Republicans would not sign on unless certain provisions were added. This would be accomplished through an amendment to the bill.

Senate Democrats expressed willingness to protect nonprofit religious institutions from providing services to same-sex couples, as well as conscience protections for businesses and their owners that refuse to accommodate same-sex ceremonies that are antithetical to their religious beliefs. These exceptions would be recognized under federal law and the constitution.

There is, however, skepticism and caution among Republicans and some groups about the Democrats' intent and their trustworthiness. Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah proposed an amendment to protect religious liberty and conscience rights, but Democrats for whatever reason refused to bring the amendment to a vote. 

The Heritage Foundation will run a $1 million advertising campaign, which will warn that the bill is deceptive, stating “America’s religious liberty is under attack with this impending vote in the Senate. This legislation does not add one additional benefit to same-sex couples in the United States; it’s an attack that sets the stage to take rights away from people of faith. What it does accomplish is deputizing radical activists to target Americans who cannot in good faith endorse anything other than a man-woman marriage. The American people deserve the truth.”  

The Heritage Foundation believes this legislation would leave religious schools and nonprofits vulnerable to litigation, which would enable the IRS to revoke the organizations' tax-exempt status, and stated the fact that Democrats refusing to entertain Senator Lee’s proposed amendment “is proof of their insincerity.”  

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a letter to the U.S. Senate, expressed dismay and their opposition to the “Respect Marriage Act.” Writing for the USCCB, Archbishop Cordeleone of San Francisco stated in part “I urge you to oppose this bill should it be considered for a vote in the Senate." People who experience same-sex attraction should be treated with the same respect and compassion as anyone; it was never discrimination, however, it is to simply maintain that an inherent aspect of the definition of marriage itself is complementarity between two sexes.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” will be voted on in the Senate on Monday, November 28 (2022), and from there sent to the House of Representatives. There is little doubt that Democrats are up to their old tricks, they will resort to deceit and any underhanded means to achieve their desired goal. And keep this in mind, Democrats have little, if any, respect for religion and God; their behavior, beliefs, and any means to an end attitude are the hallmark of their creed. 

As I finished this writing, I received information that the Senate passed the “Respect for Marriage Act,” on Tuesday, November 29, without any provisions to protect religious liberty and conscience rights, and did so with the help of 12 Republicans.

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