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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

The First Amendment Defense Act

For the past two years, conservative legislators have been proposing a tricky piece of legislation in response to the marriage equality civil rights movement. The First Amendment Defense Act, which has across-the-board Republican support, would, among other things, bar the federal government from taking any discriminatory action against those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

For example, if this bill was enacted, someone like Kim Davis could have used it as a shield in her federal court contempt proceedings when she refused to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. Essentially, this proposed law would negate the anti-discrimination laws that are already on the books and it would use federal tax dollars to do so.

The scope of the proposed legislation would also include protections for private companies. This increases the potential for discrimination against gays and lesbians in the work force.

Although this bill has no real chance of passing Congress -even if it did, President Obama would veto the measure- there are state versions out there already on the books in Indiana and Arkansas. The swift passage of marriage equality in state legislatures across the country, and via the SCOTUS in two recent landmark decisions, does not mean same-sex marriage is now accepted in the traditional households of the nation.

To be sure, there will be struggles ahead for gays and lesbians relative to their new-found marriage equality. We here at the Law Blogger have predicted that the Obergefell decision, while a good start, has merely signaled a new-era where the entrenched opposition to marriage equality will rear its head in the workplaces, schools and governments throughout the land.

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