Over 2,000 Christian leaders urge US Senate to protect belief in traditional marriage

More than 2,000 Christian leaders have urged US Senators to reject proposals endangering the religious freedom of those who uphold marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The so-called Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404) is currently before the Senate.

Under the legislation, activists could sue religious organisations that act in line with their belief in traditional marriage while operating on behalf of a state. For example, this could endanger Christian foster care providers or businesses that provide services under contract with a state government.


H.R. 8404 would require federal law to recognise any one state’s definition of marriage, whether this included polygamy or marriage to children.

In a letter arranged by religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) the signatories stated that the legislation “intends to disparage and hold liable any who adhere to the conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman and is essential for human flourishing. The proposed bill represents a startling expansion of what marriage means—and who may be sued for disagreement.”

ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker said that since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, which imposed same-sex marriage on every US state, “we have continued to see attacks on people of faith for adhering to their religious beliefs about marriage—just as the justices who dissented predicted.

“Despite claims from its supporters that religious liberty will be protected, the so-called ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ would only further hostility against churches and ministries and the millions of Americans who hold decent and honorable beliefs about marriage.”


In July, Dr Albert Mohler and 82 other heads of organisations signed a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warning him of the legislation’s consequences.

The signatories said: “The truth is, while H.R. 8404 does nothing to change the status of, or benefits afforded to, same-sex marriage in light of Obergefell, it does much to endanger people of faith.”

Speaking on the podcast Verdict, US Senator Ted Cruz added: “In Obergefell, the court said, ‘No, we know better than you guys do.’ Now every state must sanction and permit gay marriage. I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided. It was the court overreaching.”

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