Franklin Graham riles up his base with false claims about the Senate’s same-sex marriage protection bill
On Wednesday the U.S. Senate will begin the process of debating and likely passing the Respect for Marriage Act, bipartisan legislation that merely attempts to keep the status quo on marriage equality by requiring states to recognize all legal marriages of same-sex couples. It does not require states to allow same-sex couples to marry. Despite its sponsors extreme efforts to ensure existing religious rights are not compromised, far-right-wing Christian activist Franklin Graham is making extremely false claims about the legislation and riling up his supporters on social media.
The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.
“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” the LDS Church said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The bipartisan legislation includes two Republican U.S. Senators as original co-sponsors: Rob Portman of Ohio, and Susan Collins of Maine.
Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, also an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.
A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.
The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”
It also “Confirms that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” and “Guarantees that this bill may not be used to deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity – including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, grants, contracts, agreements, guarantees, educational funding, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, claims, or defenses – provided that the benefit, right, or status does not arise from a marriage. For instance, a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.”
Here’s how Franklin Graham characterized the legislation.
“The deceitfully named Respect for Marriage Act will be voted on by the U.S. Senate this week, as early as Wednesday,” he writes overnight to his 10 million Facebook followers.
“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,'” which is egregiously false.
“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham claims, while not mentioning the bill has Republican co-sponsors and is expected to get at least ten Republicans in the Senate to vote to for it.
“Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler wrote, ‘Anyone who would redefine marriage, the most fundamental building block of society, is no conservative, no friend of the natural family, and no defender of family values.’ I ask every senator to vote NO. Please call or email your two US senators and tell them to vote NO on the Respect for Marriage Act,” he concludes.
The bill is being prioritized because the House this summer already passed a similar bill, and should Republicans take the majority it’s unlikely it would even be allowed to go to the floor for a vote, much less pass.
As NCRM reported earlier, supporters also want the Senate to act quickly, given U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has encouraged marriage equality opponents to bring cases that could allow the Court to strike down its ruling in Obergefell. As many Americans learned this summer when the Court struck down its 49-year old ruling in Roe v. Wade, laws that remain on the books can go back into effect immediately.
Graham ignores all this, leading his supporters on Facebook to respond with comments like, “It seems every day there is an attack on the Constitution, as well as principles this country was established on.”
“Democrats are the biggest threat to America and its children.”
“The left is unhinged and getting more and more radical everyday. These people are sick and they are evil doers to boot! God help us!”
“There they go again. The label the Democrats stick on one of their bills almost always turns out to be the exact opposite of what the label says. In this case the “defense of marriage act” is aimed at re-defining traditional marriage. Just more destructive garbage from the loonies.”
“Mental illness is rampant within the the democrat community and when they say in the Bible “pray for our leaders “,I am thinking it means,we pray they be touched by the Word of God and our constitution.”
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