American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to ask each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:
“If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.”
So far, four candidates have signed the pledge:
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
- Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
- Dr. Ben Carson
- Carly Fiorina
Two candidates did not commit to first 100 days:
- Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-Florida)
- Donald Trump
Four candidates did not sign the pledge and did not respond to our request to indicate support for FADA:
- Former Governor Jim Gilmore (R-Virginia)
- Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio)
- Former Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York)
- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)
The text of the letter sent to the candidates requesting support for FADA is below:
The gathering concern around whether or not the Left will succeed in its ongoing efforts to force those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, prompts us to write to you and ask: will you commit to making it a top priority for you to ensure passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) in the first 100 days of your administration?
FADA protects supporters of natural marriage from punishment by the Federal government or its regulatory arms, including the IRS: “the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
It prevents the IRS from issuing regulations denying tax-exempt status to charities or schools that support natural marriage, and forbids the Federal government from discriminating against them in contracts, loans, licensing, accreditation or employment.
It prevents Federal discrimination against individuals, employers and other organizations that continue to act in accordance with a belief in natural marriage, while specifically guaranteeing conscience protections will not also be used to disrupt benefits to which people are legally entitled.
Serious scholars suggest religious schools should expect to be punished by the withholding of federal funds under current law if they do not treat same-sex unions as marriages. “It seems to me very likely that, in the coming years, schools and universities that accept public funds and support will be required—as a condition of those funds—to have nondiscrimination rules that forbid discrimination on sexual-orientation grounds,”
One such scholar, a professor who oversees the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame’s law school, told The Atlantic. “And, these rules will not distinguish between sexual-orientation discrimination and non-recognition of same-sex marriages.”
The second most powerful Democratic Senator has publicly stated he’s not sure whether such schools should be stripped of their tax-exempt status. When theWeekly Standard asked, “should religious protections extend beyond houses of worship to, say, religious schools that require employees to affirm their faith’s teaching about marriage?” Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois responded: “Getting into a challenging area, and I don’t have a quick answer to you. I’ll have to think about it long and hard.”
Many Americans, particularly African-American Christians like Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, are losing their livelihoods, at least in part because they privately support natural marriage.
When no less a distinguished legal expert than the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, has pointed to the serious religious liberty consequences that may stem from the Court’s redefinition of marriage, it is time to take the need for new conscience protections seriously. “Today’s decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty . . . Indeed the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts.
Millions of Americans can disagree over the definition of marriage, however, it is essential that the millions of Americans who support natural marriage are not punished by the Federal government for their support for marriage as it has been understood for millennia.
We ask, therefore, for your public assurance that you would prioritize passing the First Amendment Defense Act in the first 100 days of your administration.
Source: American Principles Project