Reintroduced by Senator Mike Lee, along with the support of 21 other Republicans, the bill hopes to protect the first amendment rights of individuals and institutions who wish to operate according to their beliefs about marriage.
Conservatives believe that the bill is in defense of the constitutional rights of free Americans. Opponents would stifle individual liberty in defense of another person’s wishes. Like it or not, each person has a right to live freely according to their own beliefs and to practice their religion.
Senator Lee stated that what a person believes about marriage should never be considered by the government when it issues licenses or grants money. He rightly believes that a person should never be required to choose between living according to their beliefs and maintaining their occupation.
The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was an original sponsor of the bill in 2015 when he was a senator from Alabama.
The new bill is a response to the conflicts that arise between same-sex marriage and individual religious liberty. This is an issue that needs to addressed directly by lawmakers.
Even though the bill is believed to be an attempt to gain favor with social conservative voters, the legislation could go far to resolve actual cases where religious businesses are being targeted for their beliefs.
Besides religious beliefs, there are first amendment rights in danger of being violated over scientific beliefs as well. Conservative Americans are being attacked on several different civil rights issues. The hypocrisy seems to escape some of those who are fighting.
A student was recently barred from enrolling in a required course at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania for expressing his traditional views that are in disagreement with a professor.
The student claims that he was not allowed to speak in class because he is a male. He also believes that there are only two genders and questions the theory of “white privilege.”
Christian businesses are often the target of discrimination and harassment across the country. Among the latest is a bridal salon in Pennsylvania that is being threatened. They have decided to close their doors, in part, because online bullies are posting fake negative reviews on sites like Google and Yelp, despite never visiting the store.
The owners believe that the government, through local ordinances, is trying to force them to go against their faith. They have since publicly stated that they only participate in biblical marriages.
The CEO of Freedom for All Americans, Masen Davis, said that the true spirit of the new religious freedom bill is to “legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people.”
Others have pointed out potential problems with the bill which would allow discrimination in conflict with other acts that protect civil rights. The Violence Against Women Act would conflict with the new bill in cases where the victim is in a same-sex marriage.
There is no mention why an LGBTQ person would seek help from a religious institution, some of which may seek to minister to their lifestyle as a problem. In other words, a person should not go to an auto mechanic if they do not believe in driving a car.
While Governor of Indiana in 2015, Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which drew similar criticisms.
This law is designed to help people avoid lawsuits and ensures that any action that infringes on religious liberty will be highly scrutinized.
Some would find the harassment of a religious person’s business to be a form of discrimination in itself. America has no shortage of business services, and one is likely to find more than one option to suit their bridal or abuse needs.
Currently, businesses can reserve the right to refuse service, if it is applied equally to all customers. Part of living in relative freedom is cooperation with those around you in a true spirit of community. In order to sustain our diversity and freedom, we must learn to cooperate with each other and most importantly respect our differences.
Ideas such as this were once the foundation of the civil rights movement. Now it seems that it is more about the oppression of ideas and people.