First Amendment Defense Act Would Be ‘Devastating’ for LGBT Americans

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In December, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson, told Buzzfeed they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-elect Donald Trump.

FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Ironically, the language of the bill positions the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a “first amendment” right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.

President Donald Trump‘s nominee for Attorney General Sen. Jeff Sessions is standing firm on his support for this bill that would blatantly allow for discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of a firmly held religious belief.

In a response to questions sent by Sen. Al Franken, Sessions objects to a characterization of the bill as being “deceptively named” and argues for why he feels is is needed.

If FADA manages to become law, it would overturn the executive order signed in 2014 by former president Obama prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination among federal contractors.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that he does not know whether or not the order protecting these workers would remain in place.

Trump has signaled support for FADA as well, pledging to sign it on his website under the title “Issues of Importance to Catholics. It was added in September of last year and remains on the site at time of writing.

Do we need to worry about President Donald Trump‘s nominee for Attorney General Sen. Jeff Sessions pushing this forward. Well, let’s put it this way, Sessions opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which then President Obama signed into law. That is a very good indication on how this man feels about LGBTQ rights!

(Sources: NBC News and LGBTQ Nation)

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