Now that same-sex marriage has been imposed by the US Supreme Court, a new question arises: what to do about all the people who oppose the Obergefell and do not want it to infringe upon their religious and social freedoms? Congress is considering two conflicting alternatives – one represents tolerance and the other persecution.
Tolerance is represented by the First Amendment Defense Act, drawn up immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision. This bill protects the rights of Americans not to be forced to jeopardize their beliefs for the sake of equality. Moreover, FADA promotes peace and harmony among differing ideologies. While it does not oppose Obergefell, it at least protects the rights and religious freedoms of everyone affected by the decision.
Persecution is represented by a second bill, drawn up in response to FADA, aggressively aggravates the already polarized nation. Ryan T. Anderson, in a National Review article, explains the situation:
Last week, Representative David Cicilline (D., R.I.) and Senators Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) introduced what they call the “Equality Act.” The legislation would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to more or less every federal law that protects against racism.
. . .
Most outrageously, the bill specifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend people against its requirements. Rather, it treats decent people of faith as irrational bigots, simply for believing that we’re created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other in marriage.
Whether you agree with this belief or not, it’s easy to see that the “Equality Act” is bad public policy. It fuels the culture war rather than seeking peaceful coexistence.
The so-called “Equality Act” does noting to soothe the divided nation. Americans will not allow themselves to be prodded by a bureaucracy. Anderson further explains why—in the name of tolerance—we need FADA rather than the “Equality Act:”
[G]overnment policy should not trample on the consciences of citizens who dissent from official policies on sexuality. Government discrimination against social-service providers who believe marriage is a male-female relationship undermines our nation’s commitment to reasonable pluralism and diversity. The First Amendment Defense Act would prevent this.
. . .
America is in a time of transition. The court has redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing. Will the right to dissent be protected? Will our right to speak and act in accord with what Americans have always believed about marriage — that it’s a union of husband and wife — be tolerated?
Most Americans say yes, they want ours to be a tolerant, pluralistic nation. They want peaceful coexistence. We must work together to protect these cherished American values, despite the ideologues and activists who would sow disharmony by having the government coerce those with whom they disagree.
The First Amendment Defense Act is one way of achieving civil peace even amid disagreement. To protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans, liberals should forswear coercion and embrace tolerance.