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Eagle Forum Rallies Conservatives To Oppose Democrats’ Same Sex Marriage Bill

Our friends at Eagle Forum have issued a clarion call to conservatives to defend religious liberty against the demands of Democrats who wish to force churches and other religious institutions to participate in blasphemous same-sex marriages.

The letter, addressed to the Members of the United States Senate, demands that Senators hold hearings on the House-passed “Respect for Marriage Act” (H.R. 8404) and that Senators vote no on this egregious intrusion into the religious liberty and violation of the First Amendment.


While we reproduce the text of the letter below, we want to highlight two key points made by our friends at Eagle Forum.


The first point is that H.R. 8404 is little more than a vehicle to empower homosexuals and other gender ideologues to engage in lawfare against churches and religious institutions. The bill creates a private right of action that may be brought by “any person who is harmed by a violation” of the Act “against the person who violated” the right or claim. This would empower homosexuals and their well-funded lobby to sue the Catholic Church or any other church or religious institution that refuses to perform same-sex marriages.


Secondly, Eagle Forum explains that there is one glaring absence from the so-called Respect for Marriage Act and that is any language referencing the religious liberty rights of those whose religious tenets do not consider same-sex marriage to be the equivalent of traditional marriage. Federal recognition of same-sex marriage without a religious exemption could violate the conscience protections of Americans who morally disagree with this notion. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent in Obergefell, “[the] decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is – unlike the right imagined by the majority – actually spelled out in the Constitution.”


Conservatives must oppose this latest intrusion of sexual politics into the religious life of Americans. We join Eagle Forum and other conservative leaders and organizations in urging CHQ readers and friends to call their Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) to demand they vote NO on the Democrats’ inaptly-named Respect for Marriage Act.


Text of the Eagle Forum letter follows:


July 26, 2022


Dear Senator,


As the Senate is being urged to quickly consider and pass the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404), Eagle Forum and the thousands of families we represent are writing to voice our opposition to this bill as well as a request the Senate Judiciary committee hold a hearing on this matter before it is brought to the floor for a vote.


A brief recap of the timeline: in 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional in U.S. v. Windsor. In the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision, the Court required all states to perform and recognize same-sex marriages as equal to those of opposite sex couples. On June 24, 2022, the Court handed down the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that returned the issue of abortion to the States. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurrence in Dobbs in which he reiterated his longstanding view that, “‘substantive due process’ is an oxymoron that ‘lack[s] any basis in the Constitution.’”[1] Justice Thomas was clear in stating, “[t]he Court today declines to disturb substantive due process jurisprudence generally or the doctrine’s application in other, specific contexts. Cases like . . . Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015), are not at issue. . . . Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”[2]


Despite the forceful nature of Justice Thomas’s statement that the Dobbs holding does not affect Obergefell, and the fact that no other Justice signed onto his analysis of substantive due process, the left has used his concurrence as the impetus to bring forward legislation such as H.R. 8373 (Right to Contraception Act) and H.R. 8404 (Respect for Marriage Act). H.R 8404 was introduced on July 12, 2022 and quickly passed the House of Representatives seven days later on July 19th, without a single hearing.


This legislation clearly repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that was technically repealed by the Obergefell and Windsor decisions. In addition, it codifies the holding in Obergefell that requires States, and the federal government, to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in any State, allows the Attorney General of the United States to enforce that right and creates a private right of action that may be brought by “any person who is harmed by a violation” of the Act “against the person who violated” the right or claim.[3]

There is one glaring absence from the so-called Respect for Marriage Act and that is any language referencing the religious liberty rights of those whose religious tenets do not consider same-sex marriage to be the equivalent of traditional marriage. Federal recognition of same-sex marriage without a religious exemption could violate the conscience protections of Americans who morally disagree with this notion. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent in Obergefell, “[the] decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is – unlike the right imagined by the majority – actually spelled out in the Constitution.”[4]


The House and Senate Democratic leadership has chosen not only to bring up this legislation without protections for religious believers but without a single hearing to determine what the effects of legislation will have on the Constitutional rights of Americans to act pursuant to those deeply held religious beliefs. We ask that the Senate Republican leadership and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee demand that the Judiciary Committee hold hearings on this important issue before the bill is allowed to come to the Senate floor for a vote. The American people deserve an explanation of the contents of the bill, why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not explicitly applied in this bill, and why this legislation is more important than other topics currently affecting Americans such as inflation, rising gas prices, and border security.


Once again, we urge you to call for a hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404). Please reach out to me at Kris@eagleforum.org with any questions.

[1] Johnson, 576 U. S., at 607–608 (opinion of Thomas, J.) [2] https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf p.119 [3] https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/8404/text [4] https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

  • Dobbs decision

  • Respect for Same-Sex Marriage Act

  • traditional marriage

  • Dobbs decision

  • privacy

  • sexual politics

  • LGBTQ agenda

  • Defense of Marriage Act of 1996

  • Obergefell v. Hodges

  • tax exempt status

  • DOMA

  • United States v. Windsor

  • H.R. 8404

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