Republicans introduce bill to protect anti-LGBT views

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and 21 other Republicans introduced a bill on Thursday that would protect people and companies that object to same-sex marriage, as well as those who have sex outside of marriage.

The bill, dubbed the First Amendment Defense Act, says the federal government cannot change the tax status or deny federal funding to groups who discriminate against same-sex couples, or couples who have premarital sex, based on their religious beliefs.

The bill says that the federal government “shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person speaks, or acts, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction, that marriage is or should be recognized as a union of one man and one woman; or two individuals as recognized under federal law; or sexual relations outside marriage are improper.”

The bill was first introduced back in 2015, but was never put to a vote. Other Republicans who have signed onto the bill include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

President Donald Trump expressed support for the law during his campaign, saying in a statement that he would sign the bill to “protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”

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Countries where being gay is punishable by death
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Opponents of the law say it sanctions discrimination, allowing, for example, taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse to allow same-sex or unmarried couples from adopting.

“This is a blatantly discriminatory bill,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted Thursday. “It would let private companies and government contractors— which includes a significant portion of social services providers — refuse to provide a service or benefit to people because they object to their family.”

The ACLU says this bill is broader than the 2015 version, because it also targets unmarried couples who live together.

“Unlike former versions, this new legislation doesn’t specifically designate LGBT families as the sole target of the exemption. Ironically, doing so only opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against even more people,” the ACLU tweeted. “We will fight to make sure it never becomes law.”

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Australians celebrate passing of same-sex marriage law
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Australians celebrate passing of same-sex marriage law
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Alice Bennett and her partner Miranda Hill kiss as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
North Sydney federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman celebrates with the rainbow flag after parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in the Federal Parliament in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Labor Member of Parliament Linda Burney celebrates as the Australian Parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A man celebrates after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate as a crowd gathers to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Tracy Clark and her partner Justyna Greinart embrace as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A group of women react as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A pedestrian walks past a graffiti celebtating same sex marriage on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Magda Szubanski speaks to the media and celebrates the passing of the marriage equality bill on December 7, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Michael Masters/Getty Images)
Liberal MP Warren Entsch (L) celebrates with Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe after parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in the Federal Parliament in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
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