The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has endorsed a federal bill that seeks to protect opponents of same-sex marriage, calling it a “modest” measure that protects “the rights of faith-based organizations.”
First introduced in 2015 by Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) seeks to bar federal “discriminatory action” against those who oppose such unions based on a “religious belief or moral conviction.” The bill stalled in the House and Senate.
Lee reintroduced the controversial bill earlier this month with the backing of 21 Republican senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
“We welcome and applaud the recent reintroduction of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). The USCCB has been vocal in support of the legislation since its inception. FADA is a modest and important measure that protects the rights of faith-based organizations and people of all faiths and of no faith who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Kentucky, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Nebraska, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said in a joint statement.
“For example, in a pluralistic society, faith-based charitable agencies and schools should not be excluded from participation in public life by loss of licenses, accreditation, or tax-exempt status because they hold reasonable views on marriage that differ from the federal government’s view. The leadership of the Catholic Church will continue to promote and protect the natural truth of marriage as foundational to the common good.”
“The Church will also continue to stand for the ability of all to exercise their religious beliefs and moral convictions in public life without fear of government discrimination. We are pleased to support the First Amendment Defense Act, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation,” they added.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, has called FADA “harmful legislation that would legalize state-sanctioned discrimination and undermine key civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.”