NOM BLOG

Sen. Mike Lee Introduces First Amendment Defense Act

 


I am pleased to share some very good news: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has officially introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), critical legislation to protect supporters of marriage, including individuals and organizations, from being discriminated against by the federal government because of their beliefs about marriage.

We commend Senator Lee for his leadership and commitment to protecting the rights of Americans to stand for the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Don and Ellen Vander Boom know all too well about the risk of speaking out in support of marriage. Devout Christians, the couple have dedicated everything they do to the glory of God, including their business. They operate a family-owned wholesale beef packing plant in western Michigan. After the Supreme Court issued their illegitimate ruling redefining marriage, Don noticed some material in the break room speaking out in favor of gay 'marriage.' He wanted employees to have access to both sides of the issue, so he placed an article that discussed the Christian belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

To the couple's shock, USDA inspectors entered the break room and saw the pro-marriage article, and then declared that the business owners were in violation of USDA anti-discrimination policies on the basis of sexual orientation. The officials told Don that unless he removed the article, the USDA would remove inspectors from the plant. Since meatpacking firms cannot operate in the absence of USDA inspectors on the premises, this threat effectively promised a death sentence for their business.

Help us Support FADA

The passage of FADA would help people like Don and Ellen Vander Boom by preventing government officials from targeting them for harassment and punishment over their views about marriage. The Vander Boom's had no choice but to agree to the USDA's demands, and they removed the pro-marriage material from the break room. But then they did something that many others would not have done: they filed an official complaint with USDA senior officials in Washington.

President Trump has done a lot to protect the religious liberty rights of people to continue to support traditional marriage. Thankfully, after taking office the Trump team at USDA announced that they would never take adverse action against someone because they exercised their religious liberty rights to express their views about marriage.

This action by President Trump's leadership at USDA is gratifying. Presumably other federal agencies and departments will follow suit. But the truth is that these statements do not have the force of law, and that is why FADA is so important. God forbid, someone like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who will aggressively advance the agenda of LGBT extremists to punish marriage supporters is elected President in the future. We cannot risk what might amount to open season on marriage supporters in that type of administration.

We are going to make a major push for Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act. I'm asking you to do two things right now to help:

  1. First, please contact your US Senators and ask them to become co-sponsors of Sen. Lee's legislation. The more Senators who sign on to support this proposal the better its chances of passage will be.

  2. Second, please make a financial contribution to NOM today so that we have the funds we need to push for the enactment of FADA.

Our 2018 Strategic Plan has prioritized the protection of marriage supporters as one of our top objectives. We've already taken two major steps toward achieving our goal. The directive by President Trump's Department of Justice to all federal agencies and departments that they should protect religious liberty to the maximum extent is a tremendous accomplishment. We also have filed a critical legal brief before the US Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that has the potential of protecting marriage supporters in every state in the country.

Now we need to take the next step by making sure that FADA is passed. Will you help?

One of the most impactful things you can do to stand up for the rights of marriage supporters is to become a Sustaining Member of NOM. Sustaining Members help ensure that our financial footing is solid, giving us the ability to aggressively fight for FADA.

As a Sustaining Member, you pledge a monthly gift of any amount you decide (as little as $7 per month). It's easy and works transparently. You'll be notified when your pledge processes each month. Rest assured that you can change your instructions at any time.

No American should have to go through what Don and Ellen Vander Boom went through when their business was threatened with financial ruin because of their Christian beliefs about marriage. FADA will protect them, and all of us, from becoming the target of government officials and bureaucrats because we do what God calls us to do, live out the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in our daily lives and at work.

We look forward to working with you to enact the First Amendment Defense Act into law.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

PS – Please act today to urge your US Senators to join Sen. Lee and become a co-sponsor of FADA. Thank you!

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