Liberty Counsel Yanks Support For FADA Because New Language Also Legalizes Anti-Straight Discrimination

Two weeks ago the Family Research Council abruptly withdrew its support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) because of new language that also legalizes discrimination against married straight couples on the basis of “religious belief or moral conviction.” Today the Liberty Counsel did the same. Via press release:

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on marriage, members of Congress introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) to protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom. The original version gained wide support, but recent amendments to the proposed bill have resulted in some pro-family organizations withdrawing their support of FADA.

Authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and co-sponsored by 171 congressmen in the House and 37 senators in the Senate, the House version of FADA reads as follows:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Shortly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on FADA on July 12, 2016, the bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Labrador, released a revised version of FADA to include same-sex marriage as a new protected standard. The modified language now states:

The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two individuals of the opposite sex; or two individuals of the same sex; or extramarital relations are improper. h

For the first time, the federal government under the proposed FADA will formerly recognize and condone same-sex marriage on par with the natural marriage. Liberty Counsel can no longer support FADA unless the proposed amendment is abandoned and FADA returns to its original language of marriage being between one man and one woman.

“I urge all members of Congress to reject the proposed amendments to the First Amendment Defense Act that include same-sex marriage. Pro-family organizations will no longer be able to support what was once a good bill unless it returns to its original language regarding marriage as between one man and one woman. The last minute hijacking of the otherwise good bill must be reversed to protect people of faith,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

The amended portion of FADA is below.FADAchange

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Matt, its okay. Don’t fight the amendment. If the law passes, the Liberty Council can sue to have it overturned.

    • Todd20036

      That puppy is WAY too cute to represent Matt Staver

      • Skokieguy [Larry]

        “overturned” get it?

        And frankly, for me, any random reason to post cute puppies or kitties should be encouraged.

        • Kruhn

          Yeah. We need all the cuteness we can get during this election season.

        • Todd Allis

          The new version of FADA is less one-sided, but it still stinks. Even Thor thinks so.

  • clay

    So, the loser of a former Law School Dean turns out to be a bit . . . slow.

    • pj

      hes always been a bit dim.

  • adamj2013

    What part of the 14th Amendment do these people not get? We are entitled to ALL the rights and responsibilities of marriage, not just some from time to time.

    • clay

      It seems they’d be happy with no amendments after the first 10. They’re “originalists” who defend ante-bellum America.

  • fastlanestranger

    “W….w…. wait a minute. You mean, gays might tell my wife they won’t give her an up-do because of this? Ooh, that’ll get me in trouble.”

  • Smokey

    Oh, Mat…

    • BudClark

      The nation rejoices! America is saved! Meanwhile, Republicans can’t find a fourth for bridge….

  • delk

    Mat, your bigotry is quite evident, apparent, manifest, patent, conspicuous, pronounced, transparent, palpable, prominent, marked, decided, distinct, noticeable, unmissable, perceptible, visible, and discernible.

    In other words: obvious.

  • Pierre

    Matt, you and your followers can go to Hell. Directly to Hell. Do Not Pass Go!

    • Kruhn

      And do not collect $200

    • B Snow

      I read that as “Do Not Pass God”. Which will also happen. 🙂

  • Michael

    So the “religious beliefs” of unrepentant anti-gay “Christians” matter, but the religious beliefs of pro-equality Christians do not. See how that works.

    • clay

      “but, they’re not real Christians”

    • exactly when they say “religious beliefs” what they actually mean is “right wing christian beliefs” they have no interest in protecting religious beliefs in general, rather just providing special protections and treatment for themselves.

  • oikos

    Don’t you just hate when your bigotry will affect you too?

  • JustSayin’

    Can you say ANIMUS boys and girls?

  • bkmn

    How to prove your bill is about discrimination, not freedom 101.

  • Gustav2

    If your ‘deeply held beliefs’ allow you to treat me, a fellow citizen, differently you have to allow my ‘deeply held beliefs’ to allow me to treat you differently. It is only fair.

    What? Oh, you want special rights!

    • Chucktech

      The religious already have special rights. We’re just now starting to dial them back, just a little, teeny bit.

      • Gustav2

        They lost religious rights in the 60’s Civil Rights Acts where they tried to use religion to race discriminate in accommodations.

        • B Snow

          Did they try it back then? I always thought that if they’d used that argument, we’d still have separate drinking fountains. But if they tried and failed in the 1960s, why is the argument not failing more quickly now, i.e. shut down in the first courtroom they bring it to?

          • Gustav2

            That is why their are exemptions for religious places of worship in accommodation laws, just places of worship.

  • Treant

    Poor babies. You can dish it out but not take it.

  • Ninja0980

    Gee, being the target of discrimination sucks doesn’t it?

  • Jmdintpa


  • kelven

    Sad trombone…

  • BobSF_94117

    I get that they’re butt-hurt that SSM is listed along with “traditional marriage”, but on a practical level, so what? The bill would still allow them to discriminate without repercussions and the number of cases of anyone taking advantage of the parallel protection for SSM-believers would be vanishingly small.

    • BobSF_94117

      Oh, duh. What was I thinking!??! This way they can ask for more donations.

      • Gustav2

        They was the recognition of their pedestal in law.

        • clay

          more gooder and more “citizeny” than others

          • Gustav2

            Real Americans™

    • clay

      On a practical level, they want to boycott, not be boycotted. Romans and Revelation allow/require them to be picky about who they buy from, but now that they’re the establishment, they don’t want to feel the discrimination that Paul’s and John’s contemporaries actually faced.

  • Sam_Handwich

    what possessed Labrador’s committee to include that amendment?

    • Gustav2

      It was during the hearing with Barney Frank and Co. this was brought up.

      • MB

        Barney made THEM read the bill, quoting section page and paragraph.
        (after they accused detractors of not reading the very same.)

  • Todd

    Make my cake, bitch.

    Kidding ….I wouldn’t want your hate filled cake. Choke on it.

    • Mark

      The proof is in the pudding…and their pudding cake is filled with hate.

  • Martin

    Nobody is born Christian, they have to recruit.

    • Hank

      To quote Jon Stewart:

  • aar9n

    If it is legal for Christians to discrimate against gays, then it will be legal to discriminate against Christians who discriminate against gays. Whooops

    • Chucktech

      The real kicker is that nobody would do that. If I owned a business, there’s no way in hell I’d turn down perfectly good, green money from a goddam christian.

  • skyweaver

    “Owie! Discrimination hurts!” Yeah, it does, dunnit.

  • TxSE1

    All it took was just a little scratch and…
    What do we have here?!

  • Nicholas Reed

    Recently, courts have ruled that “religious liberty” bills that give special protection to religious beliefs that condemn homosexuality privilege one set of religious beliefs above all others (because they do), and therefore violate the first amendment. So these legislative amendments were an attempt to save the FADA from being summarily overturned in court. If the FADA protects religiously-motivated discrimination on the basis of marital status generally, then it can’t be said to favour anti-gay religious beliefs specifically (I would still sue based on a disparate-impact argument. In practice, who would religiously disapprove of a heterosexual marriage?) The Liberty Council and their ilk are trying to have their cake and eat it too, but that won’t work. You can’t set out to favour one religion with law, and call that a defence of the first amendment; the courts won’t stand for that Orwellian nonsense anymore.

    • Duane Dimitrov

      Actually you can.

      Conservatives have spent decades packing courts with bigots they like.

      And just look at the Federalist Society, an organization based on a highly disingenuous reading of legal matters.

      Oh, and the 2nd Amendment, look at the “interpretation” being used today.

      These religionists are looking to establish an understanding of “religious liberty” that is really about Christian privilege…and they’d like me successful had this court-packing been still underway. Luckily, the conservative and fundamentalist movements are both collapsing.

      Great for us homos and American democracy.

    • Kruhn

      But they’re so narrow-minded that despite the fact that their own friends added the amendment to get the bill passed and hopefully survive possible court scrutiny, they scream foul. Animus anyone?

  • Duane Dimitrov

    Do you remember when these highly principled religious moral authorities were all bent out of shape over the “special” rights that we homos wanted?

    Remember how our “special” rights were somehow in actuality equal rights?

    Hmmmm….I’m getting the distinct feeling that these highly religious moral authorities are just–what’s the word?–bigots! And that their precious principles and precious, precious rhetoric is just a smokescreen for bigotry!

    I am shocked!

    • Chucktech

      “Yew alreddy got the same rites as chrischins have, you gawdless homo. If yew wanna merry a womin, yew can merry a womin.”

  • goofy_joe

    The party of small government, wants it small enough to fit into bedrooms and vaginas. Such hypocrites.

    • B Snow

      It was someone at JMG (sorry, can’t remember who it was now) who made a similar observation: they want a government small enough to fit into a straight woman’s uterus and a gay man’s rectum.

  • I guess the FRC dimwits have brighter bulbs than Liberty Counsel’s nullwits.

    • RoFaWh

      Honeybuns, when the room is pitch black, there’s not much difference between a one-watt bulb and a two-watt bulb.

      [Does that make any sense? I’m not entirely sure it does.]

      • I’m not sure whether they add up to a microwatt, or a microminiwatt – but in the case of the FRC and Liberty Counsel, what litle light they might have is kept securely hidden by a bushel basket (Synoptic Gospel references: Matthew 5:14–15, Mark 4:21–25 and Luke 8:16–18). Most of their positions as they relate to LGBTQI folks are unrepentent and malignant evil, securely protected from even that tinest of lights by their impenetrable bushel baskets.

  • Gander, meet Sauce.

  • Wynter Marie Starr

    Now that the discrimination shoe is on the other foot, it’s not as comfortable as this schmuck thought. Can’t have it both ways asshole.

  • Uzza

    What bothers me most about this is the two words “or acts”. First amendment protects speech, not actions. You can believe anything you want but to “act in accordance with” your stupid beliefs is a whole different landscape.

    The way I read that, flying an airliner into a building because I believe it’s full of infidel sodomites is totally cool. I could at least stone them to death.

  • Randy

    The amendment is about gay hatred. Right? Let’s not confuse its only purpose.

  • 1Truth1

    Better luck next time LC. We all know you will try this again with something else. And you we all know you will fail again. And again. And again.

    • Chucktech

      No, no, same luck next time, LC. That’s your station in litigious life, own it.

  • bob

    His statement proves that he only wants to discriminate against lgbt’s !

    • Kruhn

      But… but… we’re just defending traditional marriage from that icky gay one!

  • so basically this is a confession that they never actually cared about protecting ” a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” rather they only care about protecting THEIR OWN religious beliefs and moral convictions. you take their effort and universalize it and suddenly they oppose it, and they only support it when it only narrowly is tailored to protect them. so in addition to this killing FADA it is also yet another example of how the other side does not actually support what they claim to support.

    • rickhfx

      BINGO !

  • meanwhile NOM will not follow the FRC and Liberty Counsel in jumping ship becasue NOM is to busy using FADA to pretend that they are reliant and important. honestly this makes it all the more comical, now NOM is pushing something that the rest of the anti-gays are agasint and still has no chance of going anywhere.

    • Randy503


  • Stev84

    Given how many Republicans and religious fanatics are adulterers…

    • Kruhn

      But they’re adulterin’ (misused on purpose) with the correct gender, women!

      • Stev84

        Not all of them

  • Christianist version of “Take your ball and go home…” Pathetic.

    • Chucktech

      As long as it’s christians going home, I’ll stand on the ball field and wave them a fond and blessed farewell.

  • John Calendo

    They really are absurd little men, these traditional-marriage dead-enders.

  • DaveMiller135

    They don’t think they need to support the separation of church and state, because they think they’ll always end up on top.

  • Daniel E. Duclo

    Just like spoiled children they only see discrimination when they don’t get what they want and they don’t feel special unless they have something someone else doesn’t.

  • Robert Hawkins

    So sauce for the goose, isn’t sauce for the other goose as well. Victory is only possible in a “one way” direction–that IS discrimination!

    • rickhfx

      not to christians it isn’t, it’s their god given right.

  • AdamTh

    There might be a slight change to the language, but the reality is – No one will discriminate against opposite sex couples. So, there’s NO real change to that fada thingy…

    • AdamTh

      Now, I can see people discriminating against unmarried couples (of either sexual orientation) engaging in sex. I can see a pharmacy owner that says “No contraceptives for unmarried customers.” “Want condoms? Show me a marriage license (one that I choose to accept).”

    • NancyP

      No cake for you, second-marriage heterosexual couples.

  • Michael Hampton

    Mat Staver: Can dish it out but he just cannot take it.

  • Randy503

    It was probably a first year law student at Barnyard Law School to point this out to Matt. ‘Cause even the worst lawyer would have realized that upon reading it the first time.

  • “Liberty for me, but never for thee,” is obviously their motto. This here is the textbook case of hypocritically demanding special privileges to discriminate, while howling at how unfair it is when they themselves might experience it in the least way.

    BTW, the added language was intended as a poison pill, which is exactly how it turned out.

  • Bob Conti

    Staver: “Wait, you mean that proverbial sword cuts both ways? Well, I don’t like that, not one bit.”

  • Porkie

    Are Liberty council still out-sourcing child care to Nicaragua?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Sucks when people can use their beliefs to discriminate, doesn’t it Matty?

    Other foot, meet shoe. 🙂

  • Tor

    The meaning of “discriminatory action” by the federal government seems rather vague.

  • Falconlights

    So guys like Staver can dish it out but they can’t take it when something like this comes round and bites them on the butt.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    butter wouldn’t melt . . .

  • Brian Westley

    They must employ legal idiots from someplace like Liberty U, since Romer v. Evans (1996) would pretty much require that any law would have to apply to all marriages and not just same-sex marriages in order to avoid violating the equal protection clause.

  • Halou

    From the people who said that Uganda’s ultra harsh anti-gay law wasn’t meant to be enforced and that they only backed up the lifetime imprisonments as a deterrent and a moral message, and said that nobody would be imprisoned for the rest of their lives under the law, why are gay people complaining?

    Now they say that an amendment to the FADA that isn’t realistically enforceable and only there to prove a point, it’s suddenly intolerable, must remove, can’t support the bill otherwise.

    What is wrong with these homophobes? Other than the fact they’re homophobes, of course.

  • Mr Furley

    “But-but-but freedom of conscience!
    Deeply held beliefs!
    Moral convictions!
    Namely, our deeply held belief that gays are second class citizens!”