Fact Sheet: How to Protect Religious Freedom

Background: On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that laws defining marriage as the union between a husband and wife were unconstitutional and imposed a new definition of marriage on all fifty states.

In anticipation of the ruling, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) on June 17th, 2015, to prevent the federal government from denying tax exemptions, grants, contracts, licenses, or certifications to individuals and organizations based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Since its introduction last June, the bill has picked up major support in the Senate and the House. The Senate bill now has 37 cosponsors along with nine members of the judiciary committee. Cosponsors on the House bill currently include 166 members making up the majority of House Republicans.

Imminent Risk to Religious Liberty.

During argument before the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked whether the administration could remove tax-exempt status for religious schools that believe marriage is the union of a husband and wife. Verrilli replied saying, “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”

Similar challenges to religious liberty have already surfaced across multiple levels of government. State legislatures, such as California in 2013, have made attempts to remove tax-exempt status from groups such as the Boy Scouts. In 2014, President Obama issued an executive order barring federal contractors from “discriminating” on the basis of sexual orientation, disadvantaging businesses and organizations with policies supporting traditional marriage. Faith-based adoption agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., have lost their licenses and contracts because they believe children deserve to be placed in homes with a married mom and dad. The liberal American Bar Association just announced that is investigating BYU Law School’s policies against same-sex marriage, thereby putting its accreditation and access to federal funds at risk.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, these challenges have only intensified. FADA’s protections are a positive step in heading off these and future threats to religious liberty.

Indiana Case Study.

In anticipating and in response to the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, numerous states rushed to enact various Religious Freedom Restoration bills. In Indiana, Senate Bill 101 passed with overwhelming support, but immediately faced a national backlash from LGBT interest groups along with some members of the business community. Unfortunately, rather than defend the religious rights of the people of Indiana, Indiana legislators pushed through a statutory “fix” undermining Indiana’s new law. But even in Indiana, which became ground zero in the fight for religious liberty, lawmakers have regained their footing on the issue. Due to the efforts and influence of strong conservatives, further efforts to undermine religious liberty through sexual orientation and gender identity “bathroom bills” were defeated in the Indiana Senate this year. Congress should not be afraid of “another Indiana” because Indiana is now successfully defending religious liberty.

Congressional Responsibility in Preserving Religious Freedom.

At all levels, government has an obligation to ensure that Americans retain the right to speak and act in accordance with their religious beliefs. On the federal level, the body tasked with preserving those rights is Congress. Congress has an opportunity to take the lead in declaring that the redefinition of marriage cannot be allowed to erode religious liberty, and that religious liberty and the rights of conscience do not infringe upon anyone’s sexual freedoms.

As Heritage Scholar Ryan Anderson notes, the fight for conservatives after the Supreme Court’s decision is to protect the freedom of speech, association, and religion for those who continue to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The First Amendment Defense Act it is a positive step in the right direction.

Please Share Your Thoughts

58 thoughts on “Fact Sheet: How to Protect Religious Freedom

      • The SCOTUS is to interpret law, not uphold or enforce them. That’s the role of the President. Accordin nhly, it’s the Congress wich created laws, not the President or SCOTUS.

    • The Supreme Court is to decide if a case issue is Constitutional or not. I know of nowhere in the Constitution that such a statement is made. This issue comes from the Christian New Testament which states that position. Furthermore, we know scientifically that it takes a man and a woman to produce another human. But there is the catch. The Supreme Court tends to go by intent” which in this case they did not.

  1. Whenever a basic constitutional guarantee (religious freedom) is challenged for contravening a matter of political policy (LGTG), the absolute constitutional requirement takes precedence. The U. S. Constitution is superior to political purpose always and everywhere. The only thing superior to the U. S. Constitution is the religious freedom which the Constitution absolutely guarantees.

  2. I feel if people want to marry the same sex then let someone who is atheist marry them an let them have the repercussion of the valuation of breaking Gods laws

  3. We should not need to pass another bill! We the people, need to insist their representativess follow existing laws. With our current education that will be impossible.

  4. Good, and much needed, bill. I live in CA when the same sex marriage was resoundingly defeated. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals over-turned the will of the people and the rest is history. The left has long understood that they are a minority in this country. Due to that – along with the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc., they’ve chosen to legislate since they know they lose in the ballot box. Just like CAIR and other activist organizations, they use our inherent freedom to deny our inherent freedom. We need many more bills to counter this decades long strategy.

  5. My brother has always maintained that the greatest thing about America is not its innovation or prosperity but it’s religious freedom. If this corrupt government and court system destroy that America is done.

  6. It is so sad. We are immigrants from a country that was persecuting Christians and came to America mainly for religious freedom and now seeing how liberal ungodly people are taking that freedom away is heartbreaking. This country will not stand if people don’t repent. History repeats itself

  7. At the beginning of time there was only Adam and Eve–male and female. There were no other males or females, so it should be marriage between a man and a woman.

  8. Certainly this bill must be enacted. But isn’t it strange that the constitution was designed to protect us, and now we have to enact a law to protect the constitution. Life certainly is strange at times.

  9. I agree with everyone who has commented before me. The Supreme Court and Constitution both must be held to their original puposes for which they were written. It is imperative for America’s future.

  10. Only Congress is supposed to establish law. Unfortunately, the Presidents, by caveat, established the Executive Order. Few Congressmen have had the fortitude to override those orders. They are now as common as candy in almost any store. Between SCOTUS, even lower courts and Executive Orders have overridden the Constitution. If these “sources of law” are not stopped, this nation will further collapse and we, the people, will be enslaved by corruption, spurred on by their rapacious desires. Alas Babylon!

  11. All of these various organizations that have protested for equal rights for gay, lesbian and such won their rights. Now the question I am understanding is, Why is the government pushing to punish the freedoms of religious groups that believe in heterosexual relations and religious freedoms??? What happened to the “Equal Rights for All?” These “issues” that certain groups of people want changed are being “contradicary” and the government is following suite. This world is going to he’ll in a hand basket!!

    • One of the rules of revolution, in our current culture of “transformation” is to suppress the opposition.

  12. All of these various organizations that have protested for equal rights for gay, lesbian and such won their rights. Now the question I am not understanding is, Why is the government pushing to punish the freedoms of religious groups that believe in heterosexual relations and religious freedoms??? What happened to the “Equal Rights for All?” These “issues” that certain groups of people want changed are being “contradicary” and the government is following suite. This world is going to he’ll in a hand basket!!

  13. Heritage Action, once again you are creating misinformation on everyone. We all do have the right to paractice our personal faith as we see fit. None of that has changed. The Supreme Court acted properly by reinforcing the 14th Amendment that eveyone one in this country has the right to marry and our beloved Constitution does not differentiate. So if the readers truly believe that we should abide by what the Constitiution states then they should celebrate the freedom for all marriages no matter what sexual orientation the people have. So, Heritage Action stand down and support the proper decision by the Supreme Court.

    • It is physically impossible for anything other than males and females to marry. Laws of physics trump fantasy land.

    • Please see this statement in the article: ” Congress has an opportunity to take the lead in declaring that the redefinition of marriage cannot be allowed to erode religious liberty, and that religious liberty and the rights of conscience do not infringe upon anyone’s sexual freedoms”. That statement belies your argument. There are folks who have deeply held beliefs that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. These folks are being prosecuted for their beliefs. No one should be forced to go against their truly held religious beliefs. Cases in point are those who would not perform, cater or otherwise support something that is contrary to their beliefs. All folks have choices and can find those who support them to perform these actions, but it should not force THEIR beliefs on others. .

    • Your point is not what the bill is about. The bill is about protecting current things in place from being taken away because of one’s religious beliefs.”to prevent the federal government from denying tax exemptions, grants, contracts, licenses, or certifications to individuals and organizations based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman…”

  14. We cannot allow our Constitutional rights to be taken away. The Federal, and some States are in direct violation of the of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. It is a criminal act!!

  15. Obama is our president,not our God or our conscience. Pray for him that Christ will open his eyes so he and those who call evil “right” won’t spend eternity burning in hell.

  16. The constitution supports freedom of religion these judges must be removed and the government can longer issue marriage certificates only certificates of a partnership

  17. The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution added to be able to be able to get the votes of all 13 colonies. The 1st Amendment includes: 1. Freedom of Religion “and the free exercise thereof”, 2. Freedom of Speech, 3. Freedom of the Press,
    All these rights are now being set aside – There is already a war on the 2nd amendment – Why we must vote for Cruz – to ensure that the Supreme Court does not seal the death of our freedom. In near 8 years, we have lost a lot. Plus 25% of us are now immigrants – not born here. Plus our educational system forgets about teaching things like “Separation of Powers” and “Equal Justice under the Law” – which clearly does not exist today or Hillary would be in orange, She has been above the law for years.

    • I agree with pat and some more, I’m not going to put all stuff I would write about yet. but every one needs to vote for Cruz or no U.S.A any more.

  18. One can not put the entire blame on the Supreme Court. It was after all reprobate senators who put these God hating pieces of human debris on the court. Regardless, there is at least one rather simple way to rectify the God denying decision of the court. Congress can pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one women. Since in every stated where this issue has been put to the vote of the people this definition of marriage has been overwhelmingly supported and there is little doubt the amendment would be ratified. Furthermore, congress has the constitutional authority to bar judicial review of any law it passes. Therefore, If necessary, congress could declare this amendment not being subject to judicial review in which case no federal court would have authority to overturn the vote of the people. On a broader issue, it is clear that the federal judiciary needs to be reformed. Over the decades they have arrogated to themselves unconstitutional power to the point where we are no longer governed by elected representatives but by a judicial oligarchy composed of five lawyers!

  19. We have the right to be able to practice our religious beliefs after all that is why we are here. Our First Amendment Right should are to protect our beliefs. Same Sex Marriage won. They want equality. Well equality for all. The pendulum swings both ways. There are whole lot of people that will be able to perform, bake, take pictures, etc. for your special day. Seek them out. Why give them your money? I would not.

  20. We live in a country that is destroyed not by te supreme Court but by the human race. Religion is based on love, being kind and forgiveness. Everyone should be able to live however they please, love whoever they please, and marry whoever ignites them. Your religion is a free belief. Only God can judge, but for some reason you all judge, but you are not God. The world has changed, be kind and so be it.

  21. These are Attacks on the Jewish/Christian religions, right? So I wonder why, If people claim to be Jews or Christians are standing with the opposition?? I do not understand this.

  22. I see religious institutions as private enterprise awhich should be taxed on profits the same as any other private enterprise. The fallacy of non-profit promoted by religions that solicit donation and make inordinate profits is laughable. I also believe your religion has no more right to infringe my constitutional rights than I have to infrinhge on yours. Yes, you have the right to worship as you see fit; NO, you do not have the right to insist that others share your bigoted views or abide by the doctrines of your private enterprise. I am extremely conservative politically but I am also transgender and I value the righ5ts given to me by a strict constitutional interpretation. Your exercise of your rights also includes the admonition that it applies until you usurp the rights of others.

  23. I agree that every American citizen should be free to follow his or her religion so long as that religion does not call for the killing of one of its members or of people who do not accept their religion

  24. Agree with D. Sharp. Also, government only has the right to recognize what God defined, and my Lord Christ affirmed, natural marriage. That said, anyone and everyone is welcome at our church as visitors. I have many true believing sister and brothers in Christ who have struggled victoriously with issues that came out of the ” sexual revolution. “. They are obedient to Scripture’ being saved people. . And everyone in the U.S. has the constitutional to practice a religious faith ( or no faith ) of their choosing.

  25. I do not agree with same sex marriage but this could be called a union instead and receive all the benefits of marriage between a man and woman which has been the case for hunderds of years.The government should not be imposing its will on the religious beliefs of businesses that do not want to cater to these couples,let them go to businesses that will cater to them.

  26. Congress has allowed this to happen by not mustering enough votes to override the deeds of this president and we’re the ones who are suffering.

  27. Don’t impose your beliefs on ithers. Nor should you be able to deny the rights of individuals to get married, compete for a job or adopt an orphan to suitable living parents because if their sexual orientation.

  28. Don’t impose your beliefs on others. Nor should you be able to deny the rights of individuals to get married, compete for a job or adopt an orphan to suitable living parents because if their sexual orientation.

  29. A person has the right to love whom they choose and marry as well. we the people have earned the right to choose our religious belief and the lifestyle we choose to lead, without infringement from anyone. The 1st Amendment should not be changed to suit one’s personal beliefs. Freedom to choose religious beliefs and the definition of how they love.

  30. If you read the bill of rights you will find the bill allows the people to arm themselves to protect themselves from a corrupt government. I truly believe that we are going to have to do this to defend our rights and the constitution. The president took an oath to protect the constitution and obey it but what happened to the oath?

  31. This was a pipe dream for the 5 Justiices which apparently are Gay and they took it upon themselves to treat this “WISH” as Law. The Supreme Court CANNOT make law. That is the job of the Senate and House. Therefore, these 5 Supreme’s played a terrible JOKE on the Citizens of The United States hoping they could get enough support for Congress to make it Law. It still is a wish and by the Alabama Supreme Court this travesty should fade into oblivion after we have gone through all of the Legal Hoops to RIGHT the WRONG done by these 5 Justices. All five should be Impeached and replaced. This would have never happened if we had a real Honest President..

  32. Pingback: Congress Returned Tuesday. Are You Ready? | Political Junkie

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