by Maggie Gallagher
The ink on the First Amendment Defense Act is barely dry, and already some Republicans in the House are trying to subvert it, according to The New York Times:
At the same time, wary Republican moderates have quietly drafted a novel alternative that would actually expand legal protections for gay men and lesbians. Their legislation would narrow the scope of protection offered to groups declining services to same-sex couples seeking to marry.
The details are unclear, including how little would be left of FADA’s robust conscience protections, but Dent proposes basically passing ENDA and adding sexual orientation to the Fair Housing Act.
“This [FADA] opens up a can of worms, and Congress needs to show it can do two things at once: protect religious freedoms and provide legal protections for nondiscrimination,” said Charlie Dent (R-PA) who appears to have wiggled out of the closet as the leader of the fraidy faction.
At a closed door meeting, Dent shared with colleagues the lessons he learned from the Indiana debacle: Republicans cannot risk some bad publicity because of protests by big business leaders. “I would really hate to see the Indiana nightmare turn into a national debacle,” he said. Yes, if the entire Congress can be stampeded by a threats from a handful of corporate leaders.
Let’s be clear here: The courts have granted gay marriage. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just unlawfully rewrote the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add “sexual orientation” to the protected categories—without any new conscience exemptions. And Republican moderates think that in order to earn the moral right to the status quo—our 501(c)3 statuses, our schools, our charities, and our government employment—we must give something even greater to the LGBT community.
Let’s be clear hear too: President Obama did not pass new gay rights legislation when Democrats controlled the House and the Senate. He passed Obamacare instead. Why should the Republicans do what the Democrats dare not.
Meanwhile in the real world, a new AP poll confirms that Americans are up in arms over the threats to religious liberty that Chief Justice John Roberts warned about and that they see playing out in Oregon as the government bankrupts Melissa and Aaron Klein for the crime of not baking a gay wedding cake. By 56 percent to 39 percent, Americans say if gay rights and religious rights conflict, religious rights should win.
Congress this is your choice: profile in courage or carry the Left’s water for them. What did you go into public life to do?
“We cannot negotiate with those who say what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable,” as John F. Kennedy rightfully declared. Unless you’re Charles Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.