Conservatives Decry Gay Marriage Act: ‘This Bill is Going to Open Up Religious Institutions to Endless Litigation’

Lauren Shank | December 2, 2022 | 10:45am EST
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(CNS News) – Conservatives are worried about the future of religious liberty, for individuals and institutions, since the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 61-36 --  legislation that President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign into law.

“Despite the support of every voting Republican but one, and even a Democrat, the Respect for Marriage Act just passed without my amendment, which would have prevented the government from retaliating against religious individuals and institutions for their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding marriage,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) stated.

“This is a discouraging development in our country’s storied history of protecting the free exercise of religion,” said Lee.  “While I’m disappointed that my amendment was not included, I remain committed to preserving the religious liberties enshrined in our Constitution for all Americans.”

“Today [Nov.29] the Senate, including 12 Republicans, voted to undermine religious freedom and expose Catholics to debilitating lawsuits brought by those seeking to silence our voices in the public square,” CatholicVote President Brian Burch said in a statement.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Those in Congress who dismissed legitimate warnings about this bill and the harms that would be caused by it must be held accountable,” he added. “This bill was designed from the start as a political weapon for leftwing activist groups to harass and shut down conscientious Americans who hold fast to the time-honored institution of marriage.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) tweeted, “The Respect for Marriage Act isn’t about equality. It’s about making some people’s rights more important than others. I voted against the bill because it will lead to violations of Americans’ constitutional right to live their faith.”

“Twelve spineless, useless, weak, old, nasty cowards who call themselves Republican, as if that means anything anymore – voted (yea) because they were too scared of what they might be called: homophobic,” BlazeTV host Sara Gonzales said in a video.

WORLD Opinions Editor Albert Mohler commented, “Anyone who thinks the LGBTQ movement will be satisfied with forcing states to recognize same-sex marriages is delusional. Anyone who thinks the religious freedom ‘protections’ in the bill will be respected by the left is dishonest.”   

“The Respect for Marriage Act protects religious institutions but not the private business owner. So if you are a Christian baker and a homosexual couple comes in and asks for a wedding cake, and you refuse them, they can sue you and will win under this act. Not fair,” Barrington Marin II, host of the Barrington Report remarked.

The Heritage Foundation tweeted, “No American who believes in marriage as the union of one man and one woman should be persecuted by the state or radical activists for these deeply held convictions.

“Sadly, a majority of U.S. senators, with their vote today in support of a measure that would open these Americans to legal action for simply practicing their religious beliefs, has shown that they don’t agree with this fundamental tenet of our constitutional republic.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, “The private cause of action created in this bill is going to open up religious institutions to endless litigation. In the name of protecting one group we have now undermined the rights of another.”

He continued, “In America, if you believe that religious liberties are worth protecting, it’s just a matter of time before we will have to revisit this issue.”

Twelve Republicans joined with 49 Democrats to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. Those Republicans were Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Todd Young (Ind.).

A summary of the Respect for Marriage Act states, “This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages. Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)


“The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.”

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