After the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8, coupled with numerous instances of individuals and businesses facing great difficulty in holding a view of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, Idaho Representative Raul Labrador has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives aimed at protecting citizens with traditional beliefs on marriage from facing penalty or discrimination by the federal government. Currently, the bill is backed by a bi-partisan coalition of over 60 co-sponsors.
Called the "Marriage and Religious Liberty Act," the the bill (H.R. 3133) states that the federal government should not take an "adverse action" against a person on the basis of their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
The relevant portion of the bill reads as follos:
SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
(a) In General.–The Federal Government shall not take an adverse
action against a person, on the basis that such person acts in
accordance with a religious belief that marriage is or should be
recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual
relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
(b) Adverse Action Defined.–As used in subsection (a), an adverse
action means any action taken by the Federal Government–
(1) acting through the Administrator of the Internal
Revenue Service, to–
(A) deny or revoke an exemption from taxation under
section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of
such person; or
(B) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes
of any charitable contribution made to or by such
(2) to deny or exclude such person from receiving any
Federal grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, license,
certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar
position or status;
(3) to deny or withhold from such person any benefit under
a Federal benefit program; or
(4) to otherwise discriminate against such person.
The Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson makes a good sumary on why the bill is not only timely, but of urgent necessity. According to Anderson,
"Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against such groups and individuals.
Policy should prohibit the government from making tax-exempt status contingent on a group’s beliefs about marriage. No group should be denied or lose tax-exemption because it believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Tax-exempt status isn’t just for those groups who win the favor of a particular government administration."