Utah Senator Retools, Reintroduces Controversial First Amendment Defense Act

By Don Byrd

Written by Don Byrd

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) announced he has re-introduced controversial legislation to the U.S. Senate that would shield individuals and businesses from government penalty for actions taken in accordance with their sincere religious beliefs about marriage or about pre-marital sex.

Senate Bill 2525, titled the “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA) was introduced by Lee in 2015 but it did not emerge from committee. This time, Lee has made some changes to address concerns that because it focused only on protecting specific beliefs, the bill was discriminatory.

CNN reports on the difference between the 2015 version and the current iteration:

Unlike the 2015 version, however, the bill would also protect those who support any federal legal definition of marriage between two people, including same-sex marriage. So, for example, a pro-same-sex marriage group would be protected against discriminatory efforts from an administration that opposes same-sex marriage.

A spokesman for Lee, Conn Carroll, said the change was made after critics raised equality concerns about the bill in 2015.

Senator Lee’s press release announcing the introduction of the bill and its 21 co-sponsors is here. He also provides an FAQ on the measure here.

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Read more here:: http://bjconline.org/utah-senator-retools-reintroduces-controversial-first-amendment-defense-act-031318/