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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marriage and Religious Freedom Act gets boost from pro-family groups

A bill to protect citizens from coercion and censorship for their views on marriage, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, got a boost recently from myriad pro-family groups urging its passage. Their letter is below:

Senator Mike Enzi
379A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Mike Lee
316 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senators Enzi and 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 nameit 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.
Tony Perkins
Family Research Council
Gary L. Bauer
American Values
David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)
Christian Medical Association
Tom Minnery
President and CEO
Richard A. Viguerie
Mathew Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
Michael A. Needham
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
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Penny Nance
President and CEO
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee
Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
High Impact Leadership Coalition
Star Parker
Center for Urban Renewal and Education
Carrie Gordon Earll
Vice President, Government and Public Policy
Focus on the Family
Rick Scarborough
Vision America Action
Keith Wiebe
American Association of Christian Schools
Thomas J. Cathey, EdD
Director for Legal Legislative Issues
Association of Christian Schools International
Dan Weber
Association of Mature American Citizens
Joel Grewe
Generation Joshua
Susan A. Carleson
American Civil Rights Union
Andrea Lafferty
Traditional Values Coalition
William J. Murray
Religious Freedom Coalition
Austin Ruse
Elaine Donnelly
Center for Military Readiness
C. Preston Noell III
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
The Committee for Justice
Nicole Theis
Delaware Family Policy Council
David Fowler
Family Action of Tennessee, Inc.
Dale Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance Action (SD)
Julie Lynde
Executive Director
Cornerstone Family Council, Idaho
Phil Burress
Citizens for Community Values Action
Allen Whitt
Family Policy Council of West Virginia
Jim Minnery
Alaska Family Action
John Helmberger
Minnesota Family Council
Kent Ostrander
Executive Director
The Family Foundation (KY)
Michael Geer
Pennsylvania Family Institute
Peter Wolfgang
Family Institute of CT Action
Rev. Jason J. McGuire
Executive Director
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
Joe Ortwerth
Executive Director
Missouri Family Policy Council
Gene Mills
Louisiana Family Forum
Andrew Beckwith
Massachusetts Family Institute
Jonathan Saenz
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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