Wedding rings in the middle of an open book

Stand Firm Against Legislation Attacking Religious Freedom & Marriage

The Christian Employers Alliance issued the followed statement regarding HR 8404, or the inappropriately named “Respect for Marriage Act,” a bill that endangers our religious freedoms:

“House of Representatives voted to pass the (dis) ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ that expressly overturns the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly in 1996, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, the Leader did not whip the vote, and 47 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation along with all Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced the use of Senate Rule XIV last night – meaning it skips committee and can be called up at any time. He has announced his intent to bring the bill to the floor when he is assured of the ten (10) Republican votes he needs to win a cloture vote with a 60-vote threshold. Sources are telling us he could bring up the bill next week.”

Below are four arguments from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom against the RMA. 

Under the Respect for Marriage Act (the “RMA”):

The federal government would be forced to recognize any marriage as valid by a state, including polygamy, which would also have significant impacts on tax and welfare provisions.

Granting “full faith and credit” to same-sex marriage, the RMA is a declaration by Congress that failure to recognize same-sex marriage is functionally no different than censoring free speech or denying someone their right to free speech. It places same-sex marriage on par with other fundamental rights. (Remember fundamental rights are those rights with the highest protections, such as free speech, freedom of religion, etc.)

During the Obergefell oral argument, then-U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli “candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.” The RMA makes that threat more concrete because it creates a private cause of action for activists to sue anyone “acting under color of state law” – which in certain circumstances could include individuals and private organizations. In other words, RMA potentially opens up religious individuals and organizations to harassing lawsuits and legal liability if they decline to recognize same-sex marriages or grant them the same rights as opposite-sex marriages.

RMA lays a foundation for the IRS, or other federal agencies, to strip tax-exempt status from religious non-profits that do not affirm same-sex marriage. If RMA is passed, it would represent a clear statement that Congress believes opposition to same-sex marriage is against public policy. That could allow the IRS to point to the RMA, Supreme Court cases recognizing same-sex marriage, and numerous administrative actions from the Biden Administration (and the Obama Administration before it) as evidence that all three branches of the federal government uniformly believe that everyone—both government entities and private individuals and organizations—should recognize same-sex marriages and grant them the same rights and benefits as opposite sex couples. The IRS could argue that an organization that fails to do so should not be tax-exempt.

Read the letter sent by ADF and more than eighty allies to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to oppose the misnamed “Respect for Marriage Act.”

There are countless other reasons to oppose the bill, some of which are expressed here, here, and here.

Five senators have announced their intent to support the legislation:

  • Collins (ME)
  • Murkowski (AK)
  • Portman (OH)
  • Tillis (NC)
  • Johnson (WI)

According to CNN, eight senators have announced their opposition to the legislation:

  • Cassidy (LA)
  • Cornyn (TX)
  • Cruz (TX)
  • Graham (SC)
  • Hawley (MO)
  • Inhofe (OK)
  • Rubio (FL)
  • Wicker (MS)

Contact your US senator to ask that he or she oppose this legislation and keep it from reaching the sixty-vote threshold.

Please thank your senator if they have already announced opposition to the bill.