Tuesday, December 20, 2016

First Amendment Defense Act Would Be "Devastating" for LGBTQ Americans

I have addressed the issue of the disingenuously named "First Amendment Defense Act" before - one that "friends" who voted for Donald Trump, a/k/a, Der Fuhrer try to ignore - and the adverse impact it will have if passed by the Republican Controlled Congress and signed into law by Der Fuhrer as he promised Christofascists.  NBC News looks at some of the consequences of this effort to put Christofascist beliefs above the law and to provide a de facto establishment of extreme right wing Christianity as the nation's recognized religion. While clearly unconstitutional in a normal world, if Trump has the opportunity to stack the Supreme Court, there is no assurance that this foul law would be struck down if enacted.  As for Trump supporting "friends" will they get off their asses and tell Congress to defeat this bill?  I am, sadly, not holding my breath.  Here are article highlights: 
Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson, told Buzzfeed they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-elect Donald Trump.
FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking "discriminatory action" against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: "(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."
Ironically, the language of the bill positions the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a "first amendment" right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.
Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC Out FADA "invites widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBT people" and is a deeply unconstitutional bill.
"This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others," Pizer said, "And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law."
Pizer warned that the bill's language also left room for individuals and businesses to discriminate against unwed heterosexual couples and single mothers, because of the clause stating that "sexual relations are properly reserved" to marriage between a man and a woman.
"There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together," Pizer said. "It's an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period."

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