Dems Block Religious Freedom Amendment For Gay Marriage Bill In Rush To Pass It

REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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House Democrats have blocked a bill from Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy in an effort to rush through the Respect For Marriage Act before the Republicans take the House in 2023.

Roy’s amendment would strengthen religious freedom protections in the bill by prohibiting the government from retaliating against persons or organizations that act in accordance with a religious belief in marriage as occurring between a man and a woman. (RELATED: GOP Rep Says He’ll Introduce Rule Banning Members of Congress From Using TikTok On Official Phones)

Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, is refusing to allow Roy’s amendment to advance to the House floor, citing fears the Supreme Court will take aim at gay rights.

“If we were to amend this, and it goes back to the Senate, for all intents and purposes it’s dead for the year,” McGovern said at Monday’s Rules Committee Meeting. “And many of us believe that we have a court right now that is hellbent on trying to reverse the rights for the LGBTQ community, and we do not trust them to respect marriage equality in this country.”

The Senate passed an amendment to the bill in November, negotiated by Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins by a vote of 61-36. The amendment stipulates that the legislation cannot be used to require religious organizations to provide services or goods that violate their personal belief in marriage as between one man and one woman, and guarantees the bill will not alter a religious organization’s tax exempt status, among other things.