The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the Respect for Marriage Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday with a vote of 258-169. Since the bill has already passed the U.S. Senate, it now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden. According to Gillian Richards, the bill seeks to codify the legalization of same-sex marriage into federal law. It has also displeased Republican lawmakers who consider it to be a threat to religious liberty.
“It’s an absolute abomination with respect to … religious liberty,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told reporters after a press conference on his Texas border plan this Thursday. “It’s purposefully undermining religious liberty.”
Richards reported that Roy tried to amend the bill in the House that would have protected the religious liberty of those who believe in traditional marriage - a union of one man and one woman. However, House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) kept the amendment from moving to the floor of the House in Monday’s hearing. Roy made the following comments in a separate interview with The Daily Signal.
“Today, Congress passed a law that violates the very core of the First Amendment, the Constitution, and the rights we hold dear as Americans,” he said. “The so-called Respect for Marriage Act will result in predatory, activist lawsuits against good people of faith for simply living out their lives in line with their beliefs.”
“The anemic religious liberty protections in the Respect for Marriage would be laughable if the stake weren’t so high,” he added. “In good faith, I offered a common-sense solution, identical to the bipartisan amendment offered by Senator Mike Lee. It would have prohibited the federal government from discriminating against Americans based on their views on marriage, but Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked it.”
Roy framed the bill’s passage as “another example of how Congress is broken.”
“Before the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, not a single committee held a hearing, heard from witnesses, or deliberated the details of this legislation,” he said. “Until we fundamentally change how we do business here, we will continue to fail the American people.”
“I offered an amendment,” Roy told reporters Thursday. “They shut it down on a technicality under a budget point of order.”
Both the U.S. Senate (61-36) and the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act without any amendments to protect people who believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. However, proponents of the bill say that there are protections for “religious service and solemnization of marriage.” Nevertheless, the bill holds no guarantees that this provision will protect people of faith, according to Roy.
In strong language, Roy called the twelve Republicans who voted for the bill in the Senate “stupid or deceitful.” He called the bill “an abomination.”