The U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” on July 19 by a vote of 267 to 157. The Act, which was suddenly rushed through the House without any public hearings or input, is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that legitimate distinctions exist between men and women concerning family formation that should be recognized in the law. The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate, which needs 60 votes to move the bill forward.
The proposed Act seeks to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, requiring federal recognition of any one state’s definition of marriage without any parameters whatsoever.
The proposed Act goes far beyond merely codifying same-sex marriage in federal law. It is a startling expansion of what marriage means—and who may be sued if they disagree—that threatens the freedom of numerous “decent and honorable” Americans of different faiths, creeds, and walks of life who wish to live consistent with their deeply-held beliefs.
DOMA of 1996, passed by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress at the time and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, determined that a state is not required to treat a same-sex relationship as a marriage. It recognized marriage for the purposes of the federal government as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” The proposed Act strips states of their authority and silences local communities’ voices in making laws that reflect the mores of their citizens.
The IRS could rely on this congressional declaration supporting same-sex marriage to strip non-profit organizations of their tax-exempt status if they adhere to their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. This Act effectively deputizes activist groups to sue religious individuals, organizations, and businesses with sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. This could include faith-based foster care providers, religious social service organizations that work jointly with the government to serve their communities, religious organizations and businesses that provide services under contract with the government, and any other persons or organizations that act “under color of state law.”
We do not oppose interracial marriage. The deceptively titled "Respect for Marriage Act" attempts to make marriage genderless, standing in direct contrast to Christian values, threatens traditional morality, and undermines states’ ability to determine their own standards based upon the beliefs and mores of their society. Please ask your Senator to vote “NO” on H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act.