KEY VOTE: "NO" on Maloney Anti-Religious Freedom Amendment, as modified

KEY VOTE: House · May 19, 2016

Heritage Action opposes the Maloney Amendment as modified and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard

Tonight the House will vote on an amendment by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.). The Maloney amendment—even as modified—further ratifies an overreaching executive order issued by President Obama in 2014, which threatens religious liberty and personal privacy for private institutions who may contract with the federal government.

As The Heritage Foundation's expert on religious liberty Ryan Anderson wrote in 2014,

[President Obama's executive] order disregards the consciences and liberties of people of goodwill who happen not to share the government's opinions about issues of sexuality. All Americans should be free to contract with the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues.

In July 2014, President Obama issued E.O. 13672 and unilaterally elevated sexual orientation and gender identity to special status for purposes of federal contracts. This means that federal bureaucrats could discriminate against, and strip contracts from, contractors that, for example, do not give biological men unfettered access to employee bathrooms designated for women. Congress has repeatedly voted down ENDA—the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act—to avoid forcing just such a radical national bathroom policy on American business. Make no mistake: A vote for the Maloney amendment is a vote for President Obama's radical transgender bathroom agenda.

Even as modified, the Maloney Amendment would constitute Congress's acquiescence and ratification of the President's end-run around Congress. It constitutes bad policy that unnecessarily regulates businesses on sensitive matters. Finally it risks undoing the Russell Amendment which was included in the House-passed NDAA, which takes longstanding protections in civil rights law and makes clear that the president's orders are not exempt from them.

Heritage Action originally key voted against the Maloney amendment on May 19. That amendment failed during the debate on H.R. 4974. However, Maloney has offered the amendment again. This time, the amendment has been modified slightly by a second degree amendment offered by Rep. Pitts. That second degree amendment has absolutely no substantive effect. The Constitution is already the supreme law of the land. Simply adding a reference to the Constitution at the end of the amendment will in no way mitigate the amendment's damage to religious liberty.

Note: The vote on the modified Maloney amendment on H.R. 5055 will supercede the key vote on H.R. 4974.


Heritage Action Scorecard

Heritage Action opposes the Maloney Amendment as modified and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard