Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, Republicans will be wasting no time in their efforts to roll back civil rights for LGBT Americans.[The First Amendment Defense Act] would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
The intentionally broadly-written law would, in other words, enshrine the “right” of any private business to deny service to gay Americans outright if they are personally opposed to marriage equality. It would not merely allow businesses to deny their services in same-sex marriage ceremonies themselves: it would allow any business to discriminate against any customer, gay or straight, for any service, whether it be selling them gasoline or a hamburger, if a pseudo-religious reason can be attached to it.
The customer likely doesn’t even have to be gay. The business can simply declare that they believe that customer might be an unmarried fornicator or a single parent, or perhaps declare that serving a particular customer might nebulously benefit some gay American later on. The law makes no mention of religious beliefs that are not hostile to LGBT Americans or equality; the religious belief declaring LGBT equality to be sinful is elevated as the only government-protected religious belief on the subject that will be tolerated.
It is an un-American and deeply anti-First-Amendment bill, which is of course why Sen. Ted Cruz and team are quite certain they will be able to gain the support of their Republican colleagues and their new anti-civil rights president.
It is roughly equivalent to efforts sponsored in Republican-led states like North Carolina and Mike Pence’s Indiana, all of which have been tied up in courts or resulted in gargantuan corporate and private boycotts of those states.
It’s stupid as hell, and a reminder that Ted Freaking Cruz is a rancid little un-American grub of a man who was foisted onto the nation by a Republican base so riddled with paranoia that they are willing to support any malevolent act or actor if they think doing so will cause harm to Americans they don’t like.