Roger Severino, Heritage Foundation’s vice president of domestic policy, made the following statement Tuesday after the Senate passed the “(Dis)Respect for Marriage Act,” 61-36:
“No American who believes in marriage as the union of one man and one woman should be persecuted by the state or radical activists for their sincerely held convictions.
“Members of Congress who voted for this bill and claim to support religious liberty are either naïve or don’t understand the laws they are passing. Despite polling showing that their constituents oppose this legislation, they refused to adopt Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment that would have protected the religious freedom of millions of Americans without taking away a single benefit or legal entitlement from same-sex couples.
“As a result, the tax-exempt status of religious schools and nonprofits is now up for debate. Additionally, the Left will try to use the bill to sue faith-based adoption agencies and contractors to drive them out of business as they have done in multiple states and localities already.
“This bill was never about ‘live and let live.’ It has always been about unleashing the power of the state against people of faith who hold to the truth about marriage.
“If there’s a silver lining, the Senate finally voted on Sen. Mike Lee’s First Amendment Defense Act and it received near unanimous Republican support and one Democrat vote. Every candidate running for president must pledge to pass it.
“People of faith will neither forget today’s vote nor despair. Rather, they will recommit to protecting our constitutional right to religious liberty and defending those who will face legal challenges and attacks in the wake of the Senate’s action.