Utah Senator Mike Lee has reintroduced
a controversial bill that seeks to protect opponents of same-sex
Twenty-one Republican senators,
including Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Orrin Hatch
of Utah., have co-sponsored the measure.
The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)
seeks to bar federal “discriminatory action” against people and
corporations who oppose marriage equality based on a “religious
belief or moral conviction.” The bill would also protect those who
discriminate against people who engage in sex outside of marriage.
Lee and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a
Republican, first introduced FADA in 2015, but the bill stalled in
the House and Senate.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called FADA “harmful
legislation that would legalize state-sanctioned discrimination and
undermine key civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.”
“Supporters of this legislation are
using religious liberty as a sword to hurt LGBTQ families rather than
staying true to our long tradition of it serving as a shield to
protect religious expression from government overreach,” David
Stacey, government affairs director at HRC, said in a statement.
Lee told BuzzFeed
News in November 2016 that he planned to reintroduce FADA. On
the campaign trail, President Donald Trump pledged to sign the bill,
saying it was needed to protect “the deeply held religious beliefs
of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”