Last Updated on December 10, 2022
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) had harsh words for Congressional Republicans who voted to support the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which civil liberties experts have warned could be a massive threat to religious liberty. Roy introduced an amendment to the House bill — that 258-169 on Thursday — that would have offered religious liberty protections for those who see marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The amendment was shot down after House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) blocked it from moving to the House floor. A similar amendment put forward by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) failed to gain support among Senate Republicans as well.
“It’s an absolute abomination with respect to … religious liberty,” Roy told reporters during a press conference on border security this past Monday. “It’s purposefully undermining religious liberty.”
Conservative lawmakers have sounded the alarm over provisions that could potentially lead to religious institutions losing their tax-exempt statuses if they refuse to honor same-sex marriages, which would be a violation of their religious liberty. Despite the threat, amendments put forward by Lee and Roy failed to recieve support from a significant portion of their GOP colleagues, particularly in the Senate.
The Senate voted on the Respect for Marriage Act on November 29, with 12 Republicans joining the Democrats in voting in favor of it. “Yes” votes included Republican Senators Roy Blunt (MO), Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT) and Lisa Murkowski (AK). The bill also received support from more than 30 House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and a number of outgoing congressmen who voted to impeach former President Trump.
In comments to the Daily Signal, Chip Roy expanded on his criticism of the bill and warned of threats posed to religious liberty.
“Today, Congress passed a law that violates the very core of the First Amendment, the Constitution, and the rights we hold dear as Americans,” he told the outlet. “The so-called Respect for Marriage Act will result in predatory, activist lawsuits against good people of faith for simply living out their lives in line with their beliefs.”
“The anemic religious liberty protections in the Respect for Marriage would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high,” he added. “In good faith, I offered a common sense solution, identical to the bipartisan amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee. It would have prohibited the federal government from discriminating against Americans based on their views on marriage, but Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked it.”
Roy went on to say that the bill’s passing highlights the Washington GOP’s growing disconnect with its constituents. “Before the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, not a single committee held a hearing, heard from witnesses, or deliberated the details of this legislation,” he said. “Until we fundamentally change how we do business here, we will continue to fail the American people.”