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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Faith groups call for Senate passage of religious freedom measures on marriage, adoption

The following letter expresses the concerns of many in the faith-based community regarding First Amendment freedoms of religion and speech:

March 17, 2015
Sen. Mike Enzi
Senator Mike Enzi
Senator Mike Lee

Dear Senators Enzi and Lee:

Sen. Mike Lee
We, the undersigned, representing hundreds of thousands of Americans, want to thank you for your leadership in reintroducing two key pieces of legislation designed to ensure that charities, non-profits, and small business owners with religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage are not penalized by the government for their beliefs.
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating in programs, grants, contracts, and tax treatment against individuals who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Such protections are urgently needed in light of new federal agency conditions requiring endorsement of same-sex relationships in order to compete for certain federal grants. In addition, the President’s problematic July 2014 Executive Order jeopardizing the ability of businesses and faith-based organizations that contract with the federal government to hire and administer programs according to their religious beliefs is deeply troubling. The government should not deem longstanding providers of important public services ineligible to compete for federal funding simply because of their beliefs about marriage. This bill would stop these harmful and arbitrary government penalties.
Similarly, S. 667, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, would ensure that faith-based adoption and foster care providers working with birth moms, parents, and community stakeholders to serve needy children can continue to provide services in their respective locales. S.667 would address discriminatory actions like those taken by Illinois, Massachusetts, D.C. and San Francisco to force faith-based providers to halt services simply because of their belief that kids do best with a mom and a dad. Indeed, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act reflects its name—it ensures the inclusion of all providers and particularly those faith-based entities who have offered the bulk of orphan care since our nation’s founding. States that choose to discriminate against faith-based organizations despite this bill’s prohibition would face a reduction in federal funding under this bill, an important deterrent to future targeting.
We as individuals and organizations wish to remain active participants in and contributors to our communities. These bills ensure that we can continue to do so while also living in accordance with our beliefs about marriage and the family. Significantly, an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that we should have this freedom. Just last month, new polling from WPA Opinion Research and Family Research Council showed that 81% of Americans believe that individuals like us should be able to live and work in accordance with our belief in marriage as between a man and a woman.
While Americans in general continue to debate the meaning of marriage in the lead up to Supreme Court review of state marriage laws this spring, one thing is clear: millions of Americans who continue to affirm the historic understanding of marriage should remain free from government discrimination.
Again, we thank you for your leadership in introducing and advocating for this important legislation.
Sincerely,
  • Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
  • Gary L. Bauer, President, American Values
  • David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), CEO, Christian Medical Association
  • Tom Minnery, President and CEO, CitizenLink
  • Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
  • Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
  • Brian S. Brown, President, National Organization for Marriage
  • Michael A. Needham, CEO, Heritage Action
  • Dr. Ron Crews CH (COL) USAR Retired, Executive Director, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty
  • Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
  • Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, Chairman, USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
  • Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
  • Russell D. Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Penny Nance, President and CEO, Concerned Women for America
  • Legislative Action Committee, Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., Chairman
  • High Impact Leadership Coalition, Star Parker, President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education
  • Carrie Gordon Earll, Vice President, Government and Public Policy, Focus on the Family
  • Rick Scarborough, President, Vision America Action
  • Keith Wiebe, President, American Association of Christian Schools
  • Thomas J. Cathey, EdD, Director for Legal Legislative Issues, Association of Christian Schools International
  • Dan Weber, CEO, Association of Mature American Citizens
  • Joel Grewe, Director, Generation Joshua
  • Susan A. Carleson, Chairman/CEO, American Civil Rights Union
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • William J. Murray, Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition
  • Austin Ruse, President, C-FAM
  • Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
  • C. Preston Noell III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
  • Robert Knight, Senior Fellow, American Civil Rights Union
  • Colin A. Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring, Co-Chair, The Weyrich Lunch
  • Curt Levey, President, The Committee for Justice
  • Nicole Theis, President, Delaware Family Policy Council
  • David Fowler, President, Family Action of Tennessee, Inc.
  • Dale Bartscher, Executive Director, Family Heritage Alliance Action (SD)
  • Julie Lynde, Executive Director, Cornerstone Family Council, Idaho
  • Phil Burress, President, Citizens for Community Values Action
  • Allen Whitt, President, Family Policy Council of West Virginia
  • Jim Minnery, President, Alaska Family Action
  • John Helmberger, CEO, Minnesota Family Council
  • Kent Ostrander, Executive Director, The Family Foundation (KY)
  • Michael Geer, President, Pennsylvania Family Institute
  • Peter Wolfgang, President, Family Institute of Connecticut Action
  • Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
  • Joe Ortwerth, Executive Director, Missouri Family Policy Council
  • Gene Mills, President, Louisiana Family Forum
  • Andrew Beckwith, President, Massachusetts Family Institute
  • Jonathan Saenz, President, Texas Values
  • Len Deo, Founder & President, New Jersey Family Policy Council
  • Jonathan Gardner, Executive Director, New Mexico Center for Family Policy

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