Congress debated a ridiculous act in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday that would allow for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and – oh yeah – anyone who has sex outside of marriage.
The bill is called the "First Amendment Defense Act," or FADA for short. It's a Republican-backed measure that uses that whole logic of "protecting my religious freedom to take away other people's freedoms."
FADA says that the federal government cannot "discriminate" against a person who discriminates against someone else based on his or her religious beliefs. This is even more so if those beliefs consist of the idea that "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."
Basically, it says that the government cannot stop people from discriminating against others based on sexual preference. This act would let people discriminate against same-sex couples.
Senator Mike Lee, who introduced the bill, confirmed to NPR that this act would let the religious universities that get federal funding choose to not hire gay people who are married to another person of the same sex.
If you've noticed, this act also allows for discrimination against people who have sexual relations outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. So, if you're single and having sex – or married and having sex with someone who is not your opposite-sex spouse – you could legally be fired if your employer's religion doesn't like it.
As Jennifer Bendery at the Huffington Post said,
The bill would also affect single mothers or anybody in a sexual relationship outside of wedlock. For example, a school that receives federal dollars could fire a teacher if he or she is suspected of having premarital sex.
To add insult to injury, Congress debated this bill on the one-month anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead. This was an attack at a gay club, against the LGBTQ+ community.
To commemorate, Republicans in Congress talked about making anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination totally fine (and even acceptable).
Democratic Congresswoman, Bonnie Watson Coleman, said during the debate on Tuesday,
I find it offensive that any day of the year, that this proposal is being considered... That we are considering this one month after what happened in Orlando, Florida, is just another element of disrespect and disregard.
The pro-LGBTQ+ Human Rights Campaign denounced the act, calling it "tantamount to state sanctioned discrimination."