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WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced the First Amendment Defense Act Thursday, a bill designed to prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals or institutions based on their beliefs about marriage.

“What an individual or organization believes about the traditional definition of marriage is not – and should never be – a part of the government’s decision-making process when distributing licenses, accreditations, or grants,” Sen. Lee said. “And the First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always be true in America – that federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status.”

FADA prohibits the federal government from taking adverse action against individuals or institutions based on their definition of marriage or beliefs about premarital sex. It creates a cause of action in federal court for individuals or institutions that have been discriminated against by the government. Plaintiffs can seek injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and compensatory damages.

There are currently 21 co-sponsors on the Senate bill, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Thune (R-SD), Rand Paul (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

First Amendment Defense Act Q&A