GOP Senators Won’t Say If They Support Religious Freedom Amendment

GOP Senators Won't Say If They Support Religious Freedom Amendment


Ahead of another vote on the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, most of the 12 GOP senators who previously voted for the legislation are refusing to divulge whether they support Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment protecting Americans’ religious freedom.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Senate will hold a procedural vote Monday on an amendment, introduced by Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and others, that alleges to protect religious freedom.

Conservative leaders have said that the amendment is not adequate and pushed for Lee’s amendment to be adopted.

The Daily Signal repeatedly asked Sens. Collins, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Todd Young of Indiana whether they will still support the bill without amendments protecting religious freedom.

A spokeswoman for Murkowski told The Daily Signal that the senator would be able to weigh in “once we know what amendments will be considered.”

Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan confirmed Friday that he supports the Lankford and Lee amendments and “has been working hard to ensure that these amendments get votes on the Senate floor.”

Republican Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis shared that she will support the Lee amendment, though she did not say whether she would insist on the amendment’s adoption as a condition for supporting cloture on the legislation.

Lee has repeatedly raised concerns about the contents of the Respect for Marriage Act, urging Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on his amendment creating a strict policy that the federal government can’t discriminate on either viewpoint of marriage, whether same sex or traditional.

In a letter sent last week directed at the 12 GOP senators who voted for the legislation, Lee emphasized that his amendment would “ensure that federal bureaucrats do not take discriminatory actions against individuals, organizations, nonprofits, and other entities based on their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about marriage by prohibiting the denial or revocation of tax exempt status, licenses, contracts, benefits, etc.”

“It would affirm that individuals still have the right to act according to their faith and deepest convictions even outside of their church or home,” the senator added, urging the senators to oppose cloture on the bill unless his amendment is added.

“The free exercise of religion is absolutely essential to the health of our Republic,” Lee wrote in his letter, which was signed by 20 of his Republican colleagues and first published by The Daily Signal. “We must have the courage to protect it.”

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.