Newly introduced House bill would deny protections to married same-sex couples
September 19, 2013
Today, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a new piece of legislation called the so-called "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act," which would allow individuals, institutions, and government contractors to discriminate against legally married same-sex couples simply by asserting religious opposition. Even employers receiving federal funds would be permitted to discriminate under the bill.
Freedom to Marry's founder and president, Evan Wolfson, condemned the legislation today, saying:
This sweeping Trojan Horse proposal would swallow civil rights laws and subvert constitutional protections, and is a dangerous 'solution' to a non-problem. Decades of civil rights struggle, and long experience with both federal and state non-discrimination statutes, have made clear that we don't need to gut non-discrimination laws to protect true religious freedom, and neither private religious views nor prejudice should get a special license to discriminate in the public sphere.
Some of the most egregious repercussions of the law include:
- Allowing businesses to refuse to provide Family and Medical Leave Act leave for the same-sex spouse of an employee to care for a sick loved one and to deny pension protections to married same-sex couples.
- Allowing federal employees to refuse to process the tax returns or Social Security claims of married same-sex couples.
- Allowing individuals to pick and choose whether they want to comply with federal laws, simply by invoking religious views.
Freedom to Marry condemns the proposed legislation for its distracting, dangerous implications that will only stand in the way of married same-sex couples being treated as what they are: married.