Tag Archives: First Amendment Defense Act

“A Signature Act that Unifies the GOP”

I hadn’t heard of the “First Amendment Defense Act” until I read about it at RightWing Watch.

Since statutes cannot trump (excuse the phrase)constitutional provisions, you may wonder–as I did–which of our First Amendment liberties requires this ineffectual statutory “assistance.”

The Act

would prohibit the federal government from “taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

I wouldn’t bother commenting on this grandstanding bit of Congressional snit (which, to the extent it conflicts with constitutional law, will have no legal effect), except that six GOP presidential candidates recently endorsed it, much to the delight of those staunch proponents of unrestricted religious liberty (but only for Christians who agree with them): the American Principles Project, Heritage Action for America, and the Family Research Council.

The candidates pledging to protect religion-based homophobia against the “agenda” of  LGBT folks who think they are actually entitled to equal civil rights are Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Fiorina, Santorum and Huckabee.

According to Maggie Gallagher of the mis-named American Principles Project, non-signers Bush, Graham, Paul and Trump have verbally expressed support for the measure, demonstrating that the Act “is rapidly becoming a signature issue that unifies the GOP.”


I know that opposition to same-sex marriage has been a “signature issue” for Gallagher, but I think her enthusiasm for keeping LGBT folks second-class citizens has distorted her already questionable analytic abilities. It isn’t just anti-gay bigotry that has come to characterize what’s left of the GOP.

The party’s “signature issue” has become nativism, and a bigotry capacious enough to encompass not just gays, but immigrants and refugees, African-Americans, Muslims…really, anyone who isn’t a white Christian American.

It’s a “signature issue” that will destroy what was once a Grand Old Party.