The Legal Discrimination Against Gay Couples bill
September 19th, 2013
About 60 US Representatives (they claim bi-partisan) have signed onto a new bill they are calling the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which is being described as a bill to protect churches and religious organizations from being targeted by the IRS for punishment over their pro-traditional marriage position. I’ve yet to locate a copy of the bill, but sponsor Raul Labrador (R-ID) summarizes it this way:
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would prohibit government discrimination against individuals and institutions that exercise religious or moral conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman by ensuring that the federal government will not:
· Deny or revoke an exemption from taxation under Sec. 501 of the IRS Tax Code
· Disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by a person
· Deny or withhold any federal benefit
· Deny or exclude a person from receiving any federal grant, contract, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status
· Otherwise discriminate against any individual organization
I have no problem with the first two bullet points. I don’t know what is meant by the third and find the fifth vague. But the third bullet point it the heart of this bill, the true purpose, and the means by which these legislators are seeking to engage in egregious and un-American behavior.
“Deny or exclude a person from receiving any federal grant, contract, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status”
What this says is that if a solar panel installer seeks a contract from the federal government, the government must allow that contractor to refuse to provide the federal benefit to a gay homeowner. It says that a military contractor spending millions of taxpayer dollars must be allowed to discriminate in hiring against an applicant because his spouse is male. It says that the filing clerk at the social security administration can refuse to process the paperwork of a gay couple. It says that the IRS auditor can pretend that the married filing jointly return in front of her can pretend that it is filed fraudulently. It says that the customs official at the airport can unilaterally decide that your spouse isn’t really your spouse. It says that you can be turned down for student loans, for a camping permit in a national forest, for a White House visit, for any federally related benefit by any person at any level who decides that their religion requires them to discriminate against you.
There is no way that conservative Christians would EVER apply such a bill to themselves. Which gives me my response to Labrador:
I’ll make you a deal. You can pass a bill making sure that people can refuse service based on sexual orientation and marital status if you ALSO pass a bill making sure that people can refuse service based on religious affiliation.
That way Southern Baptist florists can refuse service to gay couples, and gay florists can refuse service to Southern Baptists. And one county clerk can refuse to issue a marriage licenses to gay couples while another can refuse to issue marriage licenses to Catholics and a third can refuse service to anyone with any faith at all.
That way everyone’s religious beliefs are protected, not just the anti-gay conservative Christian religious beliefs.