Two Republican senators who originally voted to advance the so-called Respect for Marriage Act announced over the weekend that they would support an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) that would strengthen protections for religious liberty in some of the bill's provisions.
Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) agreed that more protections were needed for the bill, which enshrines gay marriage rights into federal law.
The bill passed 61-39 after the amendment failed. Democrats and 11 Republicans argued that another amendment to the bill provided the needed religious liberty protections, but Lee and other Republicans did not think the existing amendment protected against groups losing their tax-exempt status.
“My amendment would ensure that federal bureaucrats do not take discriminatory actions against individuals, organizations, nonprofits, and other entities based on their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage by prohibiting the denial or revocation of tax exempt status, licenses, contracts, benefits, etc.,” a letter from Lee to the senators read. “It would affirm that individuals still have the right to act according to their faith and deepest convictions even outside of their church or home.”
Religious leaders have said that the bill invites persecution of Christians and is a "smoke screen" similar to the Inflation Reduction Act, which experts agreed does not reduce inflation.
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