Republicans in Congress are trying to ensure that religious companies, organizations, and institutions won’t have to choose between doing what conflicts with their faith and receiving federal contracts.
Lawmakers have attached to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 an amendment that would protect the religious freedom of these groups.
Naturally, liberal lawmakers don’t like it. They claim the measure would allow discrimination against homosexuals. From Roll Call:
Senate Democrats argue that the amendment could upend Obama’s executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Led by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, 42 Senate Democrats signed on to a letter to leaders of the Armed Services committees in both chambers, voicing their opposition.
“I have never voted against a National Defense Authorization Act and I am very, very hopeful that I will vote for this one,” Blumenthal said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “What we’re trying to do here is eliminate this provision before the NDAA reaches the floor.”
“Clearly there are enough signers here to indicate that there is a possibility that the bill could be blocked at least temporarily,” Blumenthal said. “But we have not explicitly said we would. Certainly, if the bill reaches the floor, we will have to consider all the options.”
If the amendment remains, the president likely will veto it.
The Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino wrote that the amendment “applies decades-old religious exemptions from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to federal grants and contracts.”
Severino noted that liberals have had “little success” passing anti-religious measures through the legislature. They use executive powers to mandate changes, misinterpreting existing civil rights law to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Religious beliefs shouldn’t disqualify organizations from contracting with the federal government, itself funded by religious taxpayers.
But Obama would interpret existing religious protections narrowly in order to make religious groups bend to the LGBT agenda. As seen in the administration’s education and health care mandates on gender identity, in practice, this means requiring employee bathrooms and showers meant for women be opened to biological men who self-identify as female regardless of people’s religious beliefs on the matter.