It is heartbreaking to have to report the shift on marriage that Congresswoman Liz Cheney has taken over the last year. This month, she voted for a bill called the Recognition of Marriage Act (the “RMA”). This vote is potentially one of the most damaging votes ever taken against the basic human right to a free conscience in a generation.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn the voters of numerous states (including California) who had affirmed that marriage was between one man and one woman. This judicial activism has been a source of much concern in American History since it overturned the elected representatives of the people and replaced them with nine “super-legislators” who will not face reelection.
While the 2015 Obergefell decision narrowly passed the court, Chief Justice John Roberts dissented as he pointed out that the decision of the court was “an act of will, not legal judgement.” This is the idea that the Constitution gives the Supreme Court “the power to say what the law is, not what the law should be.” The efforts of the four dissenting justices demonstrate a commitment to restore the Supreme Court to its original intent.
Last week, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives “fast-tracked” a bill called “The Recognition of Marriage Act” that goes far beyond the scope of the Obergefell decision.
The Alliance Defending Freedom sent out an explanation pointing out:
- It could lead to recognition of any marriage, including polygamy.
- By granting “full faith and credit” to same-sex marriage, the RMA is a declaration by Congress that failure to recognize same-sex marriage is functionally no different than censoring free speech or denying someone their right to free speech. It places same-sex marriage on par with other fundamental rights.
- During the Obergefell oral argument, then-U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli “candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.” The RMA makes that threat more concrete because it creates a private cause of action for activists to sue anyone “acting under color of state law” – which in certain circumstances could include individuals and private organizations. In other words, RMA potentially opens up religious individuals and organizations to harassing lawsuits and legal liability if they decline to recognize same-sex marriages or grant them the same rights as opposite-sex marriages.
- RMA lays a foundation for the IRS or other federal agencies to strip tax-exempt status from religious non-profits that do not affirm same-sex marriage. If RMA is passed, it would represent a clear statement that Congress believes opposition to same-sex marriage is against public policy. That could allow the IRS to point to the RMA, Supreme Court cases recognizing same-sex marriage, and numerous administrative actions from the Biden Administration (and the Obama Administration before it) as evidence that all three branches of the federal government uniformly believe that everyone—both government entities and private individuals and organizations—should recognize same-sex marriages and grant them the same rights and benefits as opposite sex couples. The IRS could argue that an organization that fails to do so should not be tax-exempt.
It is crucial that they hear from as many Wyomingites on this matter and as soon as possible – take action today.