As Democratic senators, with the help of 12 Republican senators in the U.S. Congress, push to codify same-sex marriage through the so-called ‘Respect for Marriage Act,’ Republican Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, is seeking to halt its passage through pressure to his fellow Republicans who supported the bill last Wednesday and the proposal of a key amendment.

The Utah senator recently sent a letter to his colleagues addressing it mainly to the 12 Republicans who voted for passage of the controversial legislation last Wednesday. In the letter, Lee is urging them to change course and oppose cloture on the bill, stating that as it stands, the act would violate Americans’ basic rights to religious freedom and expression of personally-held moral convictions. Two sections of the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ contain language that would authorize government and individuals to go after American citizens and organizations that do not fall in with the idea that same-sex marriage is legitimate. 

Aside from the letter to his colleagues, Lee is proposing an amendment to H.R. 8404. The amendment aims to curb the above-mentioned language, ensuring that Americans would not be allowed to persecute organizations or individuals who express support for marriage as an institution exclusive to man and woman. 

“It would affirm that individuals still have the right to act according to their faith and deepest convictions even outside of their church or home,” the senator continued. (The Daily Signal)

Defending the amendment, Lee stated, in the letter to his colleagues, that the Supreme Court decision reached in the Obergefell v. Hodges case does not include any provisions for such sort of action on the part of the government or individual citizens. 

Lee’s “Dear Colleague” letter notes that Obergefell “did not make a private right of action for aggrieved
individuals to sue those who oppose same-sex marriage” or “create a mandate for the Department of Justice to sue where it perceived an institution opposed same-sex marriage.” (The Daily Signal)

The Senate is set to debate H.R. 8404, at which time the bill’s future will be decided.

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