In case you were wondering how far those “thoughts and prayers” after the Orlando shooting were going to get anyone, here’s your answer: one month after the massacre, Congress is holding a hearing on just how many LGBT rights they ought to abridge.
At issue is a bill called the “First Amendment Defense Act,” which in typical governmental fashion is named for the thing it does not actually do. FADA would actually attack the First Amendment by elevating certain religious beliefs (namely, that gays are gross) above all others. It’s basically what Kim Davis was trying to do, except on a national level — in other words, it would create Kim Davises all over the country, which is why you can think of the bill as a sort of “Kim Davis Cloning Act.”
Obviously, this is unconstitutional; a judge in Mississippi recently held that a state law that did something similar was completely against the law.
But that hasn’t stopped groups like the National Organization for Marriage from paying lawmakers to hold hearings on the bill, so that’s what we’re wasting time with today. A bunch of Republicans have pushed the FADA to a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
What they’re trying to do is almost identical to what happened after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. Back then, bigots claimed that their religious beliefs required racial discrimination, and filed lawsuits to preserve whites-only lunch counters. On another occasion, a Christian school tried to defend its policy of paying women less because of their religious belief that men are superior to women. There is a one-to-one comparison to the florists and bakers and photographers seeking to elevate their bigotry today.
This is one of the last hurrahs of bigots, though, so don’t worry too much about how far this bill will go. They’re quickly losing all of their support, and more importantly all of their funding. Without money, these groups won’t be able to afford to influence lawmakers, so within a few years all of this will be an annoying memory.