Democrats in the House of Representatives blocked an amendment that would have protected religious Americans from retaliation based on their opposition to same-sex marriage, in order to jam legislation furthering the LGBT lobby’s agenda through Congress’s lame-duck session.
House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. James McGovern shot down Republicans’ last chance of defending religious liberty in the ill-named Respect for Marriage Act on Monday when he refused to even let Rep. Chip Roy’s amendment solidifying First Amendment protections be brought to the House floor for a vote.
McGovern’s reasoning for bypassing procedural debate was rooted in the fact that Roy’s amendment would give the process of passing the RFMA a shelf life that could last well into the newly-elected Republican House.
Seeing as most of the Republicans in the current House oppose the RFMA on the grounds that it stomps on religious Americans’ right to act on their convictions about traditional marriage, McGovern and his Democrat allies weren’t keen on waiting around to see if the legislation would survive the new GOP-led House.
“If we were to amend this and it goes back to the Senate, for all intents and purposes, it’s dead for the year. And many of us believe that we have a court right now that is hell-bent on trying to reverse the rights for the LGBTQ community and we do not trust them to respect marriage equality in this country,” McGovern said to the rules committee on Monday. “When January comes along, the gentleman’s party will be in charge and you can bring one amendment after another to reverse the last 70 years of social progress, if the gentleman prefers. We will oppose you on that.”
“There’s no evidence of the armageddon that he describes being at the doorstep,” Republican Rep. Michael Burgess retorted.
Roy, along with his Republican cosponsors Reps. Byron Donalds and Doug Lamborn, submitted the amendment for review on Thursday in a last-ditch effort to convince conservative legislators to prioritize Americans’ First Amendment rights. Roy’s amendment copied the legal protections for religious Americans that Republican Sen. Mike Lee tried, but ultimately failed, to add to the Senate’s version of the legislation two weeks ago.
“I think it would be an important amendment just to offer on the floor of the House,” Roy replied to McGovern during the committee meeting. “You know how it will work. We’ll get an hour of debate on both sides. The amendment will almost certainly get voted down, but I hope it wouldn’t because I believe it’s important. I’d like to have at least the opportunity, in the one hour of debate that I would get in this august body, to be able to make the case for religious liberty with my colleagues.”
McGovern, however, refused to listen to Roy’s concerns. As a result, the unamended RFMA, which expands the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision to further open the door for LGBT activists to sue Americans opposed to same-sex marriage, will see a floor vote as soon as next week.
The 47 Republican legislators who voted for a previous version of the bill still have a chance to vote no to the RFMA. Even without GOP support, however, the Democrat voting bloc is expected to send the bill to the White House where President Joe Biden already signaled he plans to sign it into law.