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I’ve heard from a number of people over the past few weeks about what I believe is aptly called the (Dis)-Respect for Marriage Act going through Congress. This was a harmful and dangerous bill for those of us who value religious liberty and who believe in the Christian view of marriage as between one man and one woman.

The bill requires that states recognize what any other state would recognize as a marriage. It was claimed to be needed to make sure states would recognize interracial and same-sex marriages. However, there was no danger or complaint about states not doing that, so the bill was unnecessary.

While the bill does not expressly grant federal recognition to same-sex marriages, it does so indirectly by requiring states to recognize any marriage recognized by another state. It’s simply an implied recognition in federal law of the decision in the Obergefell case in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage. Cementing in federal law a policy that is harmful and damaging to society is simply a bad idea and shouldn’t have been done.

Marriage is an institution established by God long before government came along and government had no right to change it. Marriage is established not just to serve the needs of adults but more importantly to provide a stable, secure, nurturing environment in which to raise children. A man and a woman complement each other and care for children from their unique perspectives and a child needs both and ideally should be able to nurtured by both. We can pretend that gender does not matter in marriage but that does not reflect reality from the child’s standpoint. The government, which has a goal of preserving a stable society, has an interest in promoting the best marriage arrangement in which children should be raised and one man-one woman marriage is that model and is the only one government should recognize.

This belief is held by many Christians as part of our Christian faith, as well as adherents of other faiths and cultures. We should therefore be able to enjoy the protection of the 1st Amendment against government intrusion on our free exercise of religion.

Supporters of the bill claim that there are good protections for religious liberty in it, that is for those of us who believe in the Christian view of marriage. But many groups, ones who actually defend religious liberty cases in court and who know and understand the law, are saying that the “protections” are weak. More robust protections are needed to ensure that people who hold to Christian views are not subjected to discriminatory and adverse action against them by the government. They were proposed but did not pass because LGBT groups did not want them.

With this law in place, we likely will see even more attacks than we have already seen since Obergefell. There is expected to be a further increase in harassment, investigations and lawsuits against businesses, schools and agencies that do business with the federal government if they hold to the Christian view of marriage and sexuality. Foster care and adoption agencies, Christian schools and colleges, and small businesses that offer wedding services would be the most targeted. The new law also lays the legal groundwork for the IRS for the removal of tax-exempt status and for courts to rule in future cases seeking to eradicate “discrimination” against same sex marriages.

I was very disappointed with Sen. Ernst’s and Rep. Hinson’s vote on that bill. In talking with them they were very set in their position and would not budge. They believe it keeps the law as is and has enough religious liberty protections. I told them I did not think so and thought it was a bad bill to support.

The task now before us on the state level is to see what can be done to blunt the effect of this law and put more protections in place for religious liberty and those who hold to the Christian view of marriage. In the meantime, undoubtedly there will lawsuits and we can hope some court somewhere declares it unconstitutional.

Author: Sandy Salmon


  1. Thank you Representative Salmon! Taking a stand with the principles of Gods law is courageous and you deserve and have cemented this Iowans respect! Although I don’t live in your district I will stand with you!!!!


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