Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) introduced bipartisan legislation last week to protect the religious freedom of individuals or institutions who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. In particular, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) would prohibit federal discrimination against marriage supporters in federal grants, benefits, the tax code, or by other means.
“Regardless of your ideology, we can all agree about the importance of religious liberty in America,” said Rep. Labrador. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue…. Our bill will ensure tolerance for individuals and organizations that affirm traditional marriage, protecting them from adverse federal action.”
Following the 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down the definition of marriage in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many are concerned that some activists may try to stir the federal government to trample on the religious freedom of marriage supporters by disqualifying them from 501(c) status under the tax code or taking some other adverse action. Indeed, California state legislators are already entertaining such efforts in that state’s tax code.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), a co-sponsor of the bill, declared, "The idea that individuals, churches and institutions could be penalized for not endorsing a practice in opposition to their core beliefs goes against the fundamental principles espoused by our founding fathers. I ask my colleagues in the House to act on this legislation swiftly to discourage the potential discrimination against those who simply choose to exercise their rights as Americans."
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: September 27, 2013