A proposed law meant to protect people of faith from homosexual activism is losing support from some pro-family groups.
Republicans in Congress have introduced the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects Americans who hold now-politically incorrect views about homosexuality and marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Obergefell decision last year.
The American Family Association is among the groups that have stepped back from FADA, citing language in a proposed amendment to bill.
AFA spokesman Abraham Hamilton III, an attorney for the Tupelo, Mississippi-based ministry, says that language would legally recognize unnatural marriage.
The original bill language states:
The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
With new language for homosexuals added at the end, the amended language reads:
The Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two individuals of the opposite sex; or two individuals of the same sex; or extramarital relations are improper.
It's the reference to "two individuals of the same sex" that has upset groups that would normally back such legislation.
"There are some who are afraid of having biblical marriage rejected through our court system," Hamilton says, "but we cannot stand by, in an effort to elevate pragmatism, [and] allow biblical marriage to be undermined in any way, shape or form."
For that reason, he says, AFA, Liberty Counsel and Family Research Council have publicly withdrawn support.
Writing for National Review Online, conservative author Maggie Gallagher acknowledged the new language makes the bill "viewpoint neutral," meaning the intent is to prevent the federal government from punishing people for views on marriage that are either liberal or conservative.
She went on to urge FRC and other groups to support the bill anyway, explaining that it's the only way conservative views will be protected by law.
"I do not know of any Republicans who plan to try to take away the tax-exempt status of the Human Rights Campaign," Gallagher wrote. "But the hearing showed very clearly that there are Democrats thinking about whether they can do that to groups such as the Family Research Council."
According to Hamilton, AFA is asking Congress to drop the amendment he says "subverts" the bill's original purpose and to revert to the original language.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.