Ryan Anderson – Heritage.org 19 Sep 2013
Bipartisan legislation was introduced today in the House of Representatives that would prevent the federal government from discriminating against citizens and organizations who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) was introduced by Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and over 60 other original co-sponsors from both political parties.
The bill is an important step for conscience protection. Government policy should respect those who stand for marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Even in jurisdictions that have redefined marriage, those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman should be free to live in accord with their moral and religious convictions.
But in a growing number of incidents, government has not left these Americans free. Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect a photographer’s right to decline to take pictures of a same-sex commitment ceremony–even though doing so would violate the photographer’s deeply held religious beliefs as a Christian.
Christian adoption and foster care agencies have been forced to stop providing those services because they object to placing children in same-sex households. Other cases include a baker, a florist, a bed-and-breakfast, a t-shirt company, a student counselor, the Salvation Army, and more.
California’s legislature was poised to pass a bill that would have stripped tax-exempt status from groups such as the Boy Scouts because of policies on sexual orientation. Though it had passed the state Senate, 27-9, the bill was tabled in early September after criticism from surprising quarters–including the liberal Los Angeles Times.