Senate passes same-sex marriage bill with bipartisan support - November 29th
The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the Senate and will now move to the House which is expected to approve the legislation
Progressives grumble as Respect for Marriage Act advances: ‘I hate the Senate bill’ - December 5, 2022
Rev. Mark H. Creech column
Rev. Mark Creech issues statement on Senate passage of ‘Respect for Marriage Act’
Mark H. CreechRev. Mark H. Creech
November 29, 2022
I remember that kick-in-the-gut feeling I had when, after more than 12 years of my own sweat and toil to preserve marriage in this state as one man and woman, one federal judge overturned everything – only one. Later five judges on the U.S. Supreme Court did the same for the entire country – only five people overturned everything.
Now I am experiencing that same kick-in-the-gut feeling again. Today, members of the U.S. Senate, with the help of a few Republicans, whose party platform states clearly its support for traditional marriage, voted to enshrine same-sex marriage into federal law.
Moreover, the pleadings of conservative evangelicals and the excellent counsel of various religious liberty experts, who warned the Respect for Marriage Act didn’t sufficiently protect religious liberty, were ignored and voted down in amendments.
Today the tables have turned indeed. LGBTQ people have been harmed and wronged with violence and malcontent – sometimes by conservative Christian groups. Where this has happened, it was shameful. Nonetheless, this legislation doesn’t place the LGBTQ community and people who believe in traditional marriage on an equal footing. Instead, it is full of loopholes that LGBTQ activists will, no doubt, capitalize on to harass, harangue, and legally harry those who disagree with them. The abused now have a national policy from which they may legitimately become abusers.
Christian conservatives are thankful for the Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act. Furthermore, we are grateful for the Republican Senators who offered amendments to improve the bill with broader religious liberty protections.
However, we are deeply saddened that Democrats and Republicans alike doubled down on the judicial tyranny of the Supreme Court’s erroneous decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges. In that case, the High Court imposed a so-called right that was unquestionably not written into the Constitution. Then lawmakers took that wrongful action, made it federal law, and told Christian conservatives to go to the back of the bus.
Although we went through the long and arduous political process of several years to capture the votes of millions, who placed amendments into the constitutions of more than 30 states, LGBTQ activists, based mainly on the reporting of polls (not something as substantial as votes in state constitutional referendums), convinced lawmakers to give them a short-cut to the federalization of same-sex marriage. And not only did those lawmakers allow loopholes in the law to punish those who disagree with same-sex marriage, but they made it nearly impossible ever to change the definition of marriage back to what it’s been for centuries.
Conservative Christians have been told that we have no right to impose our definition of marriage on everyone. What a thoughtless charge! How could we actually impose anything? We went through the entire political process. Millions of dollars were spent. An incalculable number of hours, days, months, and years were given to campaigns to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. Our arguments resonated with the public over a considerable period. Democracy was in action, and we won the day. We earned our victories – every one of them. It is the other side that imposed something – starting with rogue federal judges and their judicial activism – to the U.S. House and Senate, which placed LGBTQ’s definition of marriage at the head of the line without ever actually having it earned its way.
Republicans who voted for this bill have no credibility lecturing us on adhering to the U.S. Constitution!
Yes, this kick-in-the-gut feeling is painful but one we are getting accustomed to experiencing. Nevertheless, those who foisted this injustice on our nation need show no sympathy for those feeling it the most. Their arguments for same-sex marriage are not so much with us. It is God with whom they wrestle.
Mark my words! Marriage belongs to God and not the so-called rights of any particular group. Same-sex marriage may stand for a while – even a pretty long time – but it cannot stand indefinitely because it contradicts God’s order.
May God forgive those who worked to make this happen – for they know what they have done. May He show mercy and grace to those who have had the hubris to believe they can defeat His ways. They have made the critical error of thinking whatever people consider to be a right trumps God’s rights!
Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He was a pastor for twenty years before taking this position, having served five different Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina and one Independent Baptist in upstate New York.
Rev. Creech is a prolific speaker and writer, and has served as a radio commentator for Christians In Action, a daily program featuring Rev. Creech's commentary on social issues from a Christian worldview.
In addition to RenewAmerica.com, his weekly editorials are featured on the Christian Action League website and Agape Press, a national Christian newswire.
© Copyright 2022 by Rev. Mark H. Creech
Call for Prayers at 3:45 PM EDT!
As you may have seen, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the substitute amendment (#6487) to H.R. 8404 last night. The substitute repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, requires anyone operating under color of state law to provide full faith and credit to any marriage recognized by the state in which it was performed, including same-sex marriages. It provides for enforcement by the Attorney General and a private right of action. The substitute amendment stacks the deck against individuals and entities, who disagree with the bill’s definition of marriage and hold to a traditional view of marriage (including those who hold such views based on their faith), and provides them with no substantial protections.
Following the vote, Senator Schumer also announced an agreement on amendments. Today, beginning at 3:45 p.m., the Senate is scheduled to proceed to four roll call votes in the following order:
Lee amendment #6482 (60-vote threshold)
Lankford amendment #6496 (simple majority)
Rubio amendment #6493 (simple majority)
Final Passage of Cal. #449, H.R.8404, Respect for Marriage Act, as amended (60-vote threshold)
All three amendments are attached and brief summaries are below. We welcome your help in garnering support for these amendments. If you plan to weigh in on the amendments and/or the bill, please let me know.
Lee #6482 would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against individuals, organizations, and closely-held for-profits based on their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage – whether they support marriage between one man and one woman or same-sex marriage. This amendment only restricts the federal government for purposes of licenses, tax exempt status, contracts, benefits, etc. In our pluralistic society, Senator Lee believes that it is essential to provide robust religious liberty protections for those who want to practice their faith in their daily lives.
Lankford #6496 would address the gaps and harm toward religious liberty in the Baldwin substitute amendment. Specifically, it (1) narrows the bill from anyone acting under the color of state law to government entities (a state, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian Tribe) to ensure that non-governmental actors who contract with the state, such as faith-based child welfare agencies are not harmed by the bill. Without this change, the scope of the bill goes well beyond Obergefell and even beyond the scope of the Defense of Marriage Act, (2) strikes the private right of action to curb baseless lawsuits and harassment against religious organizations for living out their faith and beliefs about marriage. Notably, the bill provides these organizations with no proactive defense. (3) clarifies section 7(a) to ensure that the bill will not be used to penalize, harm or discriminate against individuals or entities because of their belief, practice or observance of marriage. This was the stated intent of many of the substitute amendment sponsors, but is unclear, at best, in the substitute, and (4) adds an additional protection to ensure that faith-based organizations that partner with the government will not be seen as government actors, and thereby subject to the bill’s mandates and forced to either compromise their beliefs or practices, be subjected to legal challenges, or end their government partnerships.
Rubio #6493 would strike the private right of action from section 4 of the Baldwin substitute amendment. As many of you know, many religious groups are deeply concerned that the private right of action provision will allow activists to bury faith based service organizations in litigation.
We ask God to answer our Prayers and move those who wish to take our Religious Liberty and First Amendment Rights and Instead give them the Wisdom and Courage to vote to defend Us from This Evil!
In a 62-37 vote, 12 Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the Respect for Marriage Act Last Week. . .
The Vote to pass the Bill is Monday Night (11-28-22) and they Need 60 votes meaning 10 Republicans to pass it!
Call your Senator - Dem or Rep and tell them to either Amend the Bill as Senator Mike Lee has requested or VOTE NO to Kill it!
Call (202) 224-3121 on Monday and ask for Your Senators Office!
UPDATE Nov. 29th: Senate Moves Closer to Passing ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ That Critics Say Threatens Religious Freedom
Report: Two GOP Senators Announce Support for Religious Liberty Amendment to Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Twelve Republican lawmakers voted for advancing the Respect for Marriage Act:
Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri
Richard Burr of North Carolina
Shelley Capito of West Virginia
Susan Collins of Maine
Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
Rob Portman of Ohio
Mitt Romney of Utah
Dan Sullivan of Alaska
Thom Tillis of North Carolina
Joni Ernst of Iowa
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Todd Young of Indiana.
READ: Respect for Marriage Act pending in Senate is raising constitutional concerns . . .
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, said, “The Constitution cannot be said to prohibit the exercise of power to define marriage in one manner (Striking Down DOMA) yet authorize the opposite definition of that same unconstitutional exercise of power. If Windsor noted that Congress lacked authority in this realm, then it necessarily lacks the power here.”
While a bipartisan amendment was introduced claiming to protect religious liberty, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, argues it really doesn’t.
“Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charitable organizations, educational institutions, and non-profits will be threatened. My amendment would have shored up these vulnerabilities,” he said.
Gregory Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance for Defending Freedom, also said the law is “unnecessary and could have a disastrous effect on religious freedom. While proponents of the bill claim that it simply codifies the 2015 Obergefell decision, in reality it is an intentional attack on the religious freedom of millions of Americans with sincerely held beliefs about marriage.”
It also “threatens religious freedom and the institution of marriage” by codifying a “false definition of marriage in the American legal fabric,” ADF argues. It also “opens the door to federal recognition of polygamous relationships, jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that exercise their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and endangers faith-based social-service organizations by threatening litigation and liability risk if they follow their views on marriage when working with the government.”
UPDATE: Republicans Who Voted for Radical ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Can Still Change Course
Senate Marriage Bill Declares War on American Parents
by Susanne Bowdey, The Washington Stand.com, November 16, 2022
In an otherwise deflating election for Republicans, one of the few areas where conservatives did make hay was America’s school boards. From Florida to Loudoun County, the parents’ rebellion rode a red wave of upsets from coast to coast. For all of the chatter about what the GOP could have done differently in these midterms, education stands alone as one of the most powerful issues connecting the party with voters. So why would Republicans support a bill that strips away parents’ say in the classroom?
Good question — one that every American should be asking their U.S. senators before Wednesday, when they’re scheduled to take the most important vote on parental rights in the last 10 years. Of course, no one on the Left is framing the Respect for Marriage Act as an education bill — and that’s by design. Democrats are hoping that if Republicans don’t look at the legislation too closely — if they’re too worried about appearing intolerant to read the fine print — they won’t realize that everything moms and dads have fought for these last few years would be destroyed.
Like free speech, conscience rights, tax-exempt statuses, religious freedom, and every other fundamental value on the chopping block with this bill, the right of parents to have a say in their children’s education would vanish. The second Joe Biden’s pen hits the paper to sign H.R. 8404 into law, the microphones across the country’s local school boards meetings — the same ones that thousands of moms and dads have used to speak their peace — would be turned off.
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Under this proposal, which some Republicans have the audacity to support, natural marriage is considered a bigoted view — discrimination, in fact. Some legal experts, including Family Research Council’s Mary Beth Waddell, believe the text actually makes a correlation between natural marriage and racism.
The bill itself threatens, “The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief." In other words, if you hold the belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman — the mainstream view for all of human history — and stand in the way of the Left’s redefinition in any way, the full weight of the Justice Department will be brought to bear. As if that weren’t enough, a private right of action — meaning everyday citizens can sue based on some perceived violation of their rights — is encouraged for anyone “harmed” by your biblical beliefs.
Carrying that out to its logical conclusion, parents who object to graphic or inappropriate curriculum in the classroom would be targets. If people thought the “domestic terrorism” label was bad, this legislation effectively turns every same-sex marriage enthusiast into an agent of the DOJ. “Once this is codified into law, parents will be considered bigots for pushing back on extremism in the classroom,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins warns. “It won’t be an illegitimate ruling, where the courts acted on their own. It will be the law of the land.”
“After the Obergefell decision, we saw school boards across the country begin to revise sex education curricula to reflect the ruling. This has resulted in significant controversy given the nature of the material,” FRC’s Meg Kilgannon points out. “Some of those revisions are only now becoming evident in the classroom, where they quickly catch the attention of parents who are shocked by highly sexualized content being directed to very young children. Parents who perhaps supported the idea of expanding the definition of marriage now face the reality of teaching young children about homosexual acts and other queer theory pet projects that quickly moved under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.”
The Ethics & Public Policy Center’s Mary Hasson echoed those concerns, cautioning, “We have to understand that the objective for those who are pushing same-sex marriage is not just to acquire the right to get a piece of paper and to have a celebration, which was sort of the promise. It’s much more than that. It is to shut down and silence those who believe otherwise.” Over these seven years since Obergefell, we should have all seen how this plays out. “Whatever the law baptizes becomes the norm. It becomes the standard that is being taught.”
And the grass doesn’t get any greener for Christian schools and colleges. While some Republicans are insisting all of the landmines for religious freedom have been defused, that lie is about to explode in believers’ faces. The latest draft of the bill “protects” religious educational institutions, but only in the context of solemnizing or celebrating marriage. The language is so narrow that the only expression of natural marriage allowed on campus would be an actual wedding ceremony. Otherwise, paint a bullseye on every orthodox, Bible-believing school.
As for the other “corrections” made since this summer, when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) couldn’t find 10 GOP senators foolish enough to support the bill, they’re an insult to Republicans’ intelligence. Under a bold font that declares, “NO IMPACT ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND CONSCIENCE,” the text outlines the exact opposite.
Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.
Sounds great, until those eight little words — “for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage” — reveal this fig leaf for the sham it is. What this phrase means is that outside of an actual wedding ceremony, the freedom of every American would be cut off at the knees, including Bible-believing adoption agencies, women’s shelters, ministries, religious schools, and charities. “It’s merely a pastors protection act,” FRC Senior Director of Government Affairs Quena Gonzalez warns, “and it is intentionally obfuscating. Solemnization happens at the altar, and only people and institutions directly involved in that event are safe. Everything before and after is unprotected.”
Surely, we didn’t come this far in the defense of religious liberty to leave bakers, photographers, small business owners, teachers, and thousands of other Christians twisting in the winds. And yet, under this law, the minute your child walks into a classroom, the minute you walk into your secular workplace or school board meeting or townhall, your rights cease to exist. The Republican Party would literally be putting a hammer in the hands of the Left to crush every non-conformist.