House Bill Would Open Pandora's Box of Discrimination against Lawfully Married Same-Sex Couples

September 19, 2013 3:04 pm

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WASHINGTON – A bill entitled the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” was introduced in the House of Representatives today. Sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), this bill would explicitly authorize discrimination against one group of Americans – married same-sex couples – by recipients of taxpayer-funded grants and contracts, and, through the threat of costly lawsuits, would tie the hands of the government in remedying discrimination. This would contravene the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which requires the federal government to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples for the purposes of determining federal benefits and protections.

“Religious liberty is a fundamental American value. It guarantees us the freedom to hold any belief we choose and the right to act on our religious beliefs, but it does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others,” said Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative representative. “The proponents of this legislation seek to reincarnate DOMA and, in doing so, perpetuate discrimination against lawfully married same-sex couples and their children. Gay and lesbian couples raise children, vote, and pay taxes just the same as everyone else, but this legislation would allow these couples to be treated differently based on who they are, giving a free pass to federal workers, recipients of taxpayer-funded grants and contracts, and others to discriminate against lawfully married couples.”

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