Right-Wing Unites Behind Anti-LGBT ‘First Amendment Defense Act’

by Kerry Eleveld –

Raul Labrador

Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador is pushing a license to discriminate bill in Congress—the ‘First Amendment Defense Act.’

The right wing is coalescing around the newly introduced First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which aims to protect the ‘religious freedom’ of tax-exempt organizations and individuals who oppose same-sex marriage (i.e. give them a license to discriminate against gays). Rich Lowry of the conservative National Review Online writes:

If supporters of same-sex marriage truly have no interest in punishing the exercise of religion they find objectionable, they can sign off on legislation to prevent it.

Meanwhile, RedState.com last month instructed its readers to call their lawmakers in support of the bill. The bill, authored by Idaho Rep. Raúl R. Labrador and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, has 142 cosponsors in the House and conservatives demanded a vote on it earlier this month. Some GOP moderates have been simultaneously trying to temper the effort by drafting legislation that would offer limited religious protections while adding employment and housing protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Republican Rep. Charlie Dent reportedly warned his socially conservative colleagues that pressing forward on FADA could open up a national backlash similar to what Gov. Mike Pence and his conservative cronies experienced earlier this year in Indiana.

“This opens up a can of worms, and Congress needs to show it can do two things at once: protect religious freedoms and provide legal protections for nondiscrimination,” Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, said Friday.

House Speaker John Boehner has been noncommittal thus far about bringing the anti-LGBT legislation up for a vote.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage raises a lot of other questions, and a number of members have concerns about issues that it raises and how they might be addressed,” he said. “But no decision has been made on how best to address these.”

Boehner’s answer suggests that he hasn’t entirely ceded the debate on LGBT issues to the House crazy caucus yet in the way that he has on immigration. But we can add this headache to the long list of issues—including the Confederate flag debate, immigration, and defunding Planned Parenthood—that the GOP’s House conservatives are itching to do that will also kill their ability to appeal to a new coalition of voters in 2016.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Why Trust National Debt Relief