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Did Republicans Pull a Bait-and-Switch on the First Amendment Defense Act?

Raul Labrador
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) has offered an amendment to the First Amendment Defense Act that effectively nullifies the entire bill. (Reuters photo)

Immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which "legalized" same-sex "marriage," U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) drafted the First Amendment Defense Act.

It quickly built an impressive list of co-sponsors: 171 congressmen in the House and 37 senators in the Senate. In part, the legislation stated:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

But recent changes have many wondering if a bait-and-switch deception was perpetrated on Americans. A number of the FADA's biggest early supporters have now become its most vocal opponents.

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Prior to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's hearing—during a period known as "markup"—Labrador offered an amendment that substantially changed not only the text of the bill, but its intent, as well. The revised House version of the FADA now includes same-sex "marriage" as a new protected class.

It in part states:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two individuals of the opposite sex; or two individuals of the same sex; or extramarital relations are improper.

Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said the new language, if adopted, would mean that for the first time, the federal government would formally recognize and condone same-sex "marriage" on par with the natural marriage. He said his organization can no longer support the FADA unless Labrador's proposed amendment is abandoned and the bill is restored to support only biblical marriage.

"I urge all members of Congress to reject the proposed amendments to the First Amendment Defense Act that include same-sex marriage," Staver said. "Pro-family organizations will no longer be able to support what was once a good bill unless it returns to its original language regarding marriage as between one man and one woman.

"The last minute hijacking of the otherwise good bill must be reversed to protect people of faith."

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