REPUBLICANS PLANNING TO REINTRODUCE DISCRIMINATORY “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL”

Congressional Republicans are planning to reintroduce a bill aimed at protecting religious groups and individuals who oppose same-sex marriage.

Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) are planning to reintroduce an “updated version” of the First Amendment Defense Act in the House and Senate, an aide to Lee said Friday.

The bill, which was first proposed in 2015, would limit the federal government’s ability to punish individuals and organizations who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Supporters say the bill protects religious freedom, while critics have argued it opens the door for discrimination against same-sex couples.

Lee’s spokesman, Conn Carroll, said the Utah Republican and Labrador did not have a timeline for when they plan to reintroduce the legislation, known as FADA.

“We plan to reintroduce an updated version of the bill, but no date has been set yet,” Carroll said.

Dan Popkey, Labrador’s spokesman, said his boss planned to introduce the bill “early this year.”

The bill, as introduced in 2015, would block the federal government from taking punitive action, like issuing fines, to people and organizations who discriminate based on a “religious belief or moral conviction,” according to language from the bill introduced two years ago.

That bill included provisions protecting people who believe that “sexual relations are properly reserved” for married couples consisting of a man and a woman.

It’s not clear how Republicans plan to update that legislation, if at all.

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