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FADA to be pushed during Trump administration

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FADA to be pushed during Trump administration

Though President-elect Donald Trump is yet to be sworn in, the Republican-held Congress is set to push the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) bill to be approved with the support of the incoming president.

FADA was first introduced by Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho in 2015. The bill prohibits the federal government from taking action against businesses or persons that discriminate against the LGBT for religious reasons.

For the coming year, Senators Lee and Ted Cruz of Texas will be pushing bill again thanks to the Republican-controlled Congress and the support of Trump.

The return of FADA in the age of Trump

Though the bill was first introduced in Congress last 2015, the bill didn’t get much of a hearing during that year. It was also met with protests and the possibility that it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama.

State-level legislation that pushed for FADA-like bills were also met with lawsuits and boycotts.

“This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others. And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law,” Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC.

“There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together,” Pizer said.

“It’s an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period,” she added.

What is FADA and why is it bad for the LGBT

The bill gives businesses and persons the right to refuse service to the LGBT based on two religious reasons: that marriage “is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman,” and “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

In other words, businesses can discriminate based on their definition of marital status and sexual relationships as the bill is worded against non-heterosexual relationships or non-marital sexual relationships.

Likewise, they can discriminate based on stereotyping as well as on visual evidence that the person they’re discriminating has a “nontraditional lifestyle.”

Because this right to discriminate is positioned as a “first amendment” right, FADA would allow businesses to sue the Federal Government while also mandating the Attorney General to defend these businesses.

“Hopefully November’s results will give us the momentum we need to get this done next year. We do plan to reintroduce FADA next Congress and we welcome Trump’s positive words about the bill,” Conn Carroll, spokesperson for Senator Lee told Buzzfeed last December 9.

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