First Amendment Defense Act Q&A
What is FADA?
The First Amendment Defense Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals and institutions based on their definition of marriage or beliefs about premarital sex.
Why is FADA needed?
Without FADA, federal bureaucrats are free to punish individuals or institutions that have a different definition of marriage than they do. For example, during oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, President Obama's Solicitor General admitted that, if the Court found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the IRS might subsequently deny tax-exempt status to any religious school that wanted to continue operating in accordance with their belief in the traditional definition of marriage. Just as Congress protected people from being punished for declining to participate in abortions after Roe v Wade, the First Amendment Defense Act prevents people from being punished for their beliefs about marriage.
How does FADA work?
FADA creates a cause of action in federal court for individuals or institutions who have been discriminated against by the government. Plaintiffs can seek injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and compensatory damages.
Does FADA make it legal for businesses to refuse service to gay people?
No. FADA does not alter public accommodations law.
Does FADA make it legal for churches to fire gay employees?
No. FADA does not alter employment law.
Does FADA make it legal for businesses to deny benefits for same-sex partners?
No. Nothing in FADA alters the Family and Medical Leave Act's protections for same-sex partner benefits.
Does FADA make it legal for landlords to advertise that they will not rent to unmarried parents?
No. Nothing in FADA alters laws concerning housing discrimination.
Does FADA allow federal bureaucrats to refuse to process benefits and claims made by same-sex couples?
No. FADA does not allow federal employees to refuse to process benefits and claims made by same-sex couples.
Does FADA elevate one set of religious beliefs above others?
No. All Federal definitions of marriage are protected under FADA. FADA would protect a liberal institution that promoted gay marriage, just as it would protect a conservative institution that wanted to promote traditional marriage.
Does FADA target gay people?
Absolutely not. Many religious institutions have codes of conduct that forbid premarital sexual relations among their members even when those sexual relations are completely heterosexual. FADA would protect those heterosexual codes of conduct just as it would protect traditional beliefs about marriage.