US: Bill to protect civil liberties on marriage

A Bill to protect the freedoms of people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman has been introduced by cross-party politicians in America.

In June this year, the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which means same-sex couples who enter a gay marriage are entitled to federal benefits.

In the wake of this, congressman Raul Labrador introduced a Bill last week to prohibit discrimination against those who disagree with same-sex marriage.

Freedom

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would ensure that the federal government cannot remove tax benefits from charities, groups and individuals who hold a traditional view of marriage.

Politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties gave their support for the Bill.

Mr Labrador said: “Regardless of your ideology, we can all agree about the importance of religious liberty in America”.

He added: “Our Bill will protect freedom of conscience for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue.”

Tolerance

He said the Bill will ensure tolerance for individuals and organisations that are pro-traditional marriage, and will protect them from “adverse federal action”.

Provisions in the act include prohibiting excluding a person from any federal employment, contract, loan or licence because of their marriage views.

A press release from Mr Labrador said the Supreme Court’s ruling in June “opens the door” for potential legal action against churches, organisations or individuals who are pro-traditional marriage.

Family

The Bill is supported by family campaign groups such as Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Family Research Council.

Homosexual-rights activists have criticised the proposals, saying the First Amendment which protects free speech is already in place for those who are against gay marriage.

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