The Respect for Marriage Act, H.R.8404, was signed on the White House lawn earlier this week. Contrary to bold claims, the law did nothing to change the legal status or provide any additional protections regarding marriage. Interracial marriage has been fully legal in the US since 1967 and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2015. Disregarding Biden’s wild claim that it would prevent gay people from being thrown out of restaurants, which would have been a clear violation of the already existing Public Accommodation Law, the law is simply a solution in search of a problem. (Those who have actually been denied restaurant service include Trump supporters, Christian conservative organizations and the unvaccinated.) The bill does; however, expose Americans to predatory lawsuits for holding to traditional values about life, marriage, and family. Hence, it has been dubbed the (dis)Respect for Marriage Act.
Decency and Dignity (*Warning: Graphic Language)
Biden used the bill’s signing as an opportunity to promote drag queens and child castrations, while dangerously equating belief in natural marriage (one man, one woman) with discrimination, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and transphobia. (Will these labels be applied to those who oppose the push to normalize pedophilia and polyamorous relationships, as well?)
Biden’s vision to create culture where “decency, dignity, and love are recognized, honored and protected” included inviting to the signing a non-binary drag queen, Marti Cummings, that received attention three years ago when he was filmed singing to a 2-year-old while dressed in drag and recently tweeted “The kids are out to sing and suck d!” This followed his previous controversial tweet of “F….. the police.”
Is this the new definition of decency?
What Happened to the Lee Amendment?
A simple amendment proposed by Senator Mike Lee would have fixed a glaring omission in the bill, which makes absolutely no exception for conscientious, faith-based objections. The Lee amendment would have prohibited any entity of the federal government from retaliating against any person or group for adhering to sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage. Retaliation could include negating the tax-exempt status or the deductibility of donations – or withholding benefits or grants for which they otherwise would qualify.
Those who opposed Lee’s amendment stated it was not necessary since protections are already provided. But that argument does not hold up under closer scrutiny. There are some exclusions for religious institutions, but not for individuals, non-profit organizations or private, non-religious businesses.
What the Bill Actually Does
This new legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to file taxpayer-funded lawsuits against those deemed to be non-compliant with the federal government’s new definition of marriage. It also empowers private citizens and groups to sue Americans of faith by creating a private cause of action. When Congress creates an explicit right to sue on a particular issue, it prompts more lawsuits on that issue regardless of background law.
In effect, the U.S. government is rolling out the red carpet for you to be sued if you say that you believe marriage is between a man and a woman, or if you run your business or non-profit according to that belief. Universities, adoption agencies, women’s shelters and other nonprofits could have their tax-exempt status threatened for failing to recognize a same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
The only outcome we can expect from this, since there were already legal protections in place for interracial and same-sex marriage, is for religious individuals, businesses, and institutions to spend more time and money defending their God-given rights in court.
Speak Up or Shut Up?
Many religions or denominations have held the time-honored doctrine that marriage by definition means a commitment between one man and one woman. A person can agree or disagree with those doctrines while still acknowledging the undeniable fact that the doctrines are well established and, to many, essential. The First Amendment’s “free exercise” provision explicitly protects the right of people and institutions to practice the elements of their faiths, and the threat of litigation should not be used to silence debate and limit the ability to do business or speak in the public square.
In recent years, the Church has largely remained silent on issues of culture while losing ground on moral standards. Many pastors in the U.S. have preferred to avoid addressing issues regarding government or culture, choosing instead to “appease the alligator and hope he eats you last.” (The political definition of appeasement is a policy of making concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict.) The Church didn’t want to get involved in politics. Well . . . politics has come knocking on the door. Or, rather, knocking down the door.
With passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the issue Christians will face is not the ability to believe in man-woman marriage, but the ability to live out those beliefs meaningfully in society and not be labeled a bigot by the government for doing so.
Congress cannot write laws that take away constitutionally guaranteed rights. The purpose of this legislation is to create harassment and intimidation for those unwilling to embrace LGBTQ ideology.
How do people of faith respond? Speak up. Live not by lies. Do not bear false witness to something you do not agree with. Refuse to hate.
Stay true to who you are. Stay true to your core values and principles without worrying about others’ opinions.
Stand. Keep standing. Then stand some more.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. . . They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Excerpt from Daniel 3
*To help with the inevitable influx of lawsuits regarding religious freedom, you can make a donation to First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty for all Americans.