While everyone is talking about Trump’s transition and how badly it is going, something is falling under the radar. This is a piece of legislation that the Republican House, Republican Senate and President-Elect all support.
I don’t know how else to say this. I know it will piss off a lot of people, but I really don’t care right now. This piece of legislation is the first step towards America’s version of the Nuremberg Laws. I say that because it is so despicable that absolutely no one will be protected once it is passed and signed into law.
This bill is called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). As you can guess from the name of the bill it is as civil rights suppression law just like their Freedom Of Religion Defense Acts that have passed in several states including Pence’s Indiana.
The initial targets of this shameful law will be LGBT and women. This bill will allow legal discrimination based on “religious beliefs”. If a baker decides that they won’t bake a cake for a gay couple, the government cannot do anything about it.
If an adoption agency decides not to let legally married same-sex couples to adopt a child, there can be no recriminations against that agency. If a pharmacy decides not to fill birth control prescriptions, there is nothing that can be done.
The bill applies to any corporation, organization, or person who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
Do you notice just how broadly that language is? Any corporation, organization, or person, including government employees, hospitals, or huge corporations like Hobby Lobby. It also means that old age homes and hospices can turn away patients who are gay, believe it or not it has already happened. It means hospitals can refuse a same-sex partner visitation rights.
Here are some other things this bill could cover without any recourse for the people being discriminated against:
- The current government policy requiring federal contractors – 20% of the entire U.S. workforce – not to discriminate against LGBT people will be immediately revoked. Contractors can legally fire people for being gay (or transgender).
- A governor can order that, in his state, no clerk anywhere may certify a same-sex marriage, and the federal government could do nothing about it.
- If a restaurant or hotel posts a sign saying “NO FAGGOTS ALLOWED,” FADA prohibits the government from “discriminating” against it by initiating an enforcement action under public accommodations laws. Gay couples may be refused hotel rooms anywhere in the country.
- If a company refuses to let a person take time off to take care of her same-sex partner in the hospital, the government cannot pursue any action under relevant employment laws.
- If a state-funded adoption agency refuses to place children with legally married same-sex couples, the government cannot withdraw its contracts with that agency. (This was a key request by Catholic adoption agencies, which receive the bulk of their funding from the government.)
- An employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs could refuse to process a claim for survivor benefits for the same-sex spouse of a service member.
- All schools and universities can discriminate against LGBT people, regardless of Title IX (as long as they link that discrimination to a view about marriage, which is quite easy to do). Universities may turn away gay applicants, deny LGBT clubs, and fire all gay faculty and staff members, with no penalties from the federal government.
- Any hospital may refuse to provide contraception, reproductive health care (including consultations of any kind), or health care of any kind to unmarried people or gay people, and not lose accreditation.
- And yes, however unlikely, your boss could fire you for having (straight) premarital sex, and no federal agency could come to help you.
If you think you are immune from this law, better think again. I know it talks about “marriage” but the “religious belief” and “moral conviction” opens the door to several unwanted things. Like what if a state elects an anti-gun Governor and legislature. They decide to pass a law that says you cannot own a gun because it is against their “religious belief” or “moral conviction”. According to this law the federal government can do nothing to stop them from taking your guns.
What if a state employee decides that you cannot get a marriage license if you were divorced because of their “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions”? The federal government cannot force that person to issue that marriage license.
This bill is so broad and so vicious anyone can be affected because someone in a position of authority can force their “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions” on you. How would you feel if your boss was very much against divorce and fired you when you get a divorce just because you got a divorce. He claims “religious belief” or “moral conviction” and you have no recourse.
As I said, the major targets of this bill are members of the LGBT community and women. But there are no guarantees that you will not be drawn into it too. There are no brakes on the bill. It is nothing more than the federal government allowing “legal” discrimination against citizens by bigots who have different views than you.
You better wake up now. Our civil rights, our liberties, our private lives, our entire way of life are at stake. Electing Donald Trump as President and giving the House and Senate to the Republicans you have unleashed the bigots and their unconstitutional views.
And, if you think the Supreme Court will overturn this law, remember, it will be Donald Trump who will nominate the open seat on the court, and he has already said he intends to nominate people who love these kinds of laws.
This is simply another ploy by Republicans to pit Americans against Americans. Problem is that at some point, you will be on the losing side of these laws.
These kinds of laws are so bad and so uncontrollable that they should never see the light of day. What will keep someone from claiming “religious belief” to fire you from your job because you have a disability?
What will keep a principle at a school from denying entrance to school by disabled children based on “religious belief”? I can go on and on. But, I hope you now understand why I say this law is the first step in America’s Nuremberg laws.
Is that what we are to become?