First Amendment Defense Act Protects Freedom and Pluralism after Marriage Redefinition

In June 2015, the Supreme Court redefined marriage throughout America by mandating governmental entities to treat same-sex relationships as marriages. The Court, however, did not say that private schools, charities, businesses, or individuals must do so if they disagree. Indeed, there is no justification for the government to force these entities to violate beliefs about marriage that, as Justice Kennedy noted, are held “in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world.” Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife should continue to be free to live and work according to their convictions.

The proposed First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is a good first step to protecting freedom after the Court’s redefinition of marriage. FADA, sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R–UT) and Representative Raúl Labrador (R–ID), is a measured, reasonable, commonsense policy. It would ensure that no federal agency discriminates against individuals or institutions for following their convictions about marriage as a man-woman union by revoking their nonprofit tax-exempt status, or denying them government grants, contracts, accreditation, or licenses. FADA protects freedom and pluralism in the wake of social change—embodying the best of American values.

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