The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that will protect the right to same-sex marriage. However, many religious leaders fear the legislation will lead to retaliation from radical LGBT activists.
In all, a dozen Republicans joined Democrats to send the legislation to the House, resisting pressure from more conservative wings of the party to stand in opposition.
Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the nation’s top religious liberty law firms, condemned the Senate’s decision.
“This dangerously cynical and completely unnecessary bill is a direct attack on the First Amendment. It does nothing to change the legal status of same-sex marriage anywhere. But it undermines religious freedom everywhere and exposes Americans throughout the country to predatory lawsuits by activists seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square. Today, the Senate has chosen to disregard legitimate concerns about the undeniable harms of this bill. If the Senate truly cared about protecting religious freedom, it would have included comprehensive amendments proposed by Sens. Lee, Rubio, and Lankford. ADF remains committed to ensuring the First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans and to defending those who will likely be targeted because of this legislation.”Alliance Defending Freedom
An amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) that would have protected churches from retaliation was struck down.
The amendment “would have prevented the government from retaliating against religious individuals and institutions for their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding marriage.”
“This is a discouraging development in our country’s storied history of protecting the free exercise of religion,” Lee said on Twitter.
The Senate, with its 60-vote threshold to avert a filibuster, “was the main obstacle to the bill’s passage,” but the measure managed to secure 61 yea’s, to 36 no votes.
The Hill said the House is expected to pass it without much difficulty before sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
Lawmakers developed the same-sex legislation over the summer after an opinion from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – in a ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion protections – suggested the high court also reopen Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
The 12 Republicans who voted in favor of the same-sex marriage measure were:
- Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
- Richard Burr, R-N.C.
- Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
- Susan Collins, R-Maine.
- Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
- Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
- Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
- Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
- Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.
- Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
- Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
- Todd Young, R-Ind.