CNS News, by Lauren Shank: The U.S. Senate decided on Nov. 16 to move forward and vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, and then passed the measure (53-23) on Nov. 17 with 12 Republicans voting in favor. Conservatives, however, denounced the bill as an attack on religious liberty in America, particularly for individuals.
If signed into law, which President Biden is expected to do, the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and essentially codify “gay marriage” into federal law. For federal purposes, marriage would no longer be defined as being between one man and one woman.
On Nov. 16, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted, “Nothing in the bill adds new protections for gay marriage, but it does, in my view, create great uncertainty about religious liberty and institutions who oppose gay marriage.”
He continued in another tweet, “The refusal to adopt Senator [Mike] Lee’s amendment, which clearly protects religious institutions from reprisals, says all I need to know about the potential risks of the bill to religious liberty.”
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, stated, “The bill is a bad deal for the many courageous Americans of faith and no faith who continue to believe and uphold the truth about marriage in the public square today. The Act does not strike a balance that appropriately respects our nation’s commitment to the fundamental right of religious liberty.”
“Senators supporting the Act must reverse course and consider the consequences of passing an unnecessary law that fails to provide affirmative protections for the many Americans who hold this view of marriage as both true and foundational to the common good,” said Dolan.
Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, tweeted, “The concept of marriage between a man and a woman is, and must remain, non-negotiable. The ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ is about imposing the radical Left’s sexual orthodoxy on the entire country. Conservatives: stand up for basic truths.”
“The U.S. Senate is making a mockery of marriage as it tramples on a foundational right – religious freedom of the individual,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement. “Whether by the court or by the Congress, truth cannot be altered. Regardless of the action of Congress, there are millions of Americans who will remain steadfast in their love for their fellow human being, by remaining committed to these truths: that marriage is ordained by God and men and women are created in His image.”
“All Americans should be honored and no one should be discriminated against – no one,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) made clear. “The Respect for Marriage Act isn’t about equality or maintaining the status quo. It is about silencing and disadvantaging people that disagree.”
Kristen Waggoner, CEO, president, and general counsel of the ADF commented, “Make no mistake, this bill will be used by officials and activists to punish and ruin those who do not share the government’s view on marriage. When we undermine the First Amendment rights of our neighbors, we harm ourselves.”
“‘Respect for Marriage Act’ is actually the ‘Compelled Secular Redefinition Act,’” former Senior Advisor for Donald Trump and host of The Jenna Ellis Show tweeted.
“This bill sends a message that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” President of Samaritan’s Purse Franklin Graham said. “@AlbertMohler wrote, ‘Anyone who would redefine marriage, the most fundamental building block of society, is…no defender of family values.”
“Gay marriage” was declared constitutional by a liberal majority (5-4) of the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. In a dissent, conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “the Constitution leaves that question” of marriage “to be decided by the people of each State,” not by the federal government.
“The Constitution says nothing about a right to same-sex marriage,” wrote Alito. “Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.”
“It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” said Alito. “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”
“This principle we in our day are firmly to maintain. The banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the gospel church and by God’s witnesses during the centuries that have passed since then, has, in this last conflict, been committed to our hands. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His word. We are to receive this word as supreme authority. We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must obey God rather than men. God’s word must be recognized as above all human legislation. A “Thus saith the Lord” is not to be set aside for a “Thus saith the church” or a “Thus saith the state.” The crown of Christ is to be lifted above the diadems of earthly potentates.” The Acts of the Apostles, 68.2