Cruz Plans To Reintroduce Religious Freedom Bill In 2017


A law to protect individuals and businesses that object to gay marriage will be reintroduced in the next Congress, according to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, hope that a new climate in Washington will increase the chances of success for the measure, which has languished on Capitol Hill since 2015.

“The prospects for protecting religious freedom are brighter now than they have been in a long time,” Cruz said recently.

“We are having ongoing conversations with our colleagues both in Congress and leaders in the new administration about a multitude of ways we can honor the commitment made to the voters in this last election,” the senator said.

The First Amendment Defense Act would ban the federal government from punishing individuals and corporations if they act on a “religious belief or moral conviction” that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The bill introduced in 2015 had 172 House co-sponsors and 37 in the Senate.

“Any effort to protect religious liberty has brighter prospects with a new Congress and new administration,” said Cruz, who said that a “relentless assault” on religious liberty was a major factor in the 2016 elections.

Cruz noted that religious freedom is one of his most important issues.

“… when it comes to religious liberty, religious liberty has been a passion for me for decades, and it has been something that I have been fighting to defend for many, many years,” he has said.

During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump said he supported the First Amendment Defense Act and noted it would “protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”

The bill announces that its goal is to “prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage.”

Leading legal scholars concur that conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious liberty are real and should be legislatively addressed,” it says.

“Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order,” the bill says, adding, “Laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate tolerance for those beliefs and convictions and therefore contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.”

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