First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) Would Be ‘Devastating’ for LGBTQ Americans

 Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson said they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-Elect Donald Trump.
fadawould 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.”
Ironically, the language of the bill position the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a “first amendment” right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.

FADA was first filed in the House and Senate in 2015, but was met with protests from Democrats and resulted in just one House hearing amid concerns that Obama would veto the bill. It is currently co-sponsored by 171 House Republicans and just one Democrat (Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.)

State-level legislation similar to FADA has failed in recent years, usually resulting from lawsuits and nationwide boycotts. When Vice President-elect Mike Pence passed a “religious freedom” bill as governor of Indiana in March 2015, it was met with protests, financial losses from businesses that pulled operations from the state. It ultimately required an amendment issued in April to protect LGBTQ people from the bill’s discrimination.

Mississippi’s HB 1523 is nearly identical to FADA. The state law, passed in 2016 but quickly blocked by a judge, allows people and businesses in the state to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on three sets of religious beliefs: “Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage, and male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

A lawsuit brought by Mississippi religious leaders alleges the state law actually violates religious freedom by determining that religious belief necessitates anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The group of ordained ministers suing the state said in the lawsuit, Barber v. Bryant, that Mississippi violates its right to freedom of religion “because persons who hold contrary religious beliefs are unprotected—the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others.”

Barber v. Bryant is currently at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal trial court ruled HB 1523 violates the federal Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses. Pizer said the case stands as an example of the legal explosion that would occur in reaction to FADA.

“If Congress were to pass the federal FADA as currently written, and the next president were to sign it into law, I’m confident heads would spin at how fast the constitutional challenges would fly into court,” Pizer said, adding “we’re likely to have a great many allies because these attempts to misuse religion for discrimination offend enormous numbers of Americans who cherish both religious liberty and equality for all.”

Joint Statement from DNC Chair Donna Brazile and DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes

“Instead of honoring the memory of those we lost at Pulse two months ago, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have come to Orlando to headline a gathering of some of the nation’s most incendiary anti-gay bigots. We at the DNC join all people of good conscience in expressing our solidarity with the Orlando LGBT community as they continue to grieve the deadliest shooting in American history. We suggest Trump and Rubio disavow these anti-gay extremists who have likened gay people to Nazis and characterized HIV/AIDS as divine ‘penalties’ for being gay. Failing to do so will be yet another example of the utter lack of judgment that makes Trump unfit to serve.” Trump-Rubio-300x198



Staten Island Councilmember Endorses Trump

Yesterday my representative in The New York City Council stated he is actively supporting Donald Trump for President! This shows how much he doesn’t support his constituents. Especially me and those who live on the south shore in the LGBT community and immigrant communities. This is NOT acceptable! Here is what he said in his Facebook post about his endorsement. 

From CM Joe Borelli post on FB

 Dear friends and fellow Staten Islanders. Yesterday, a story ran in the Staten Island Advance that indicated my intention to support Donald Trump for President. Additionally, an editorial was written questioning my judgment if I did so. Today, I will make no apology of the fact that I am proudly endorsing Donald Trump for President.

This election has made at least one thing clear, people are sick of the Washington beltway cronyism that has stifled repeated attempts to change the status quo, either from the right or left. In my view, what our country needs is a transformation, and in my view, Donald Trump is the candidate best suited to offer the country transformational change. While I would happily support any of the Republican candidates if they were to be the nominee, Mr. Trump not only offers our party the best chance to win but offers America the best opportunity to get back on the right track.

I have met and spoke with Donald Trump, his staff and his advisers many times over the years. The man I met was smart, bold, visionary and unafraid of challenges. Additionally, he’s able to boil complex intellectual ideas on issues like trade, the economy, homeland security and restoring American exceptionalism into ideas that are easily understood by the masses, who are sick of the same old D.C. jargon. These are just a few of the qualities, which will make him a great President. Additionally, the people he’s always surrounded himself with are incredibly bright and talented. After years of seeing politicians select campaign bundlers or what they thought was the politically correct choice, it will be refreshing to see a President surround himself with the finest talent this country has to offer.

Donald Trump is brash, plainspoken, quick to criticize, and not overly consumed by saying things in the most politically correct way. I find his style, his candor and his ability to connect with people very refreshing, as do the millions of Americans who have already voted for him and the millions more who are eager to do so.

While I certainly don’t agree with all of his proposals, I’m yet to encounter a candidate with whom I agree 100% of the time. I’m confident that when Mr. Trump is elected, he’ll be able to work with elected officials of all political persuasions, while not compromising the core values, which make him so appealing.

Donald Trump’s candidacy is motivating people whether his critics like it or not. Aside from packing arenas, a clear indicator of the enthusiasm for his candidacy, he also represents the best opportunity to grow the GOP base. In many early primary states, the Republican turnout is more or almost more than double the Democrats. (AL, AR, GA, NH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA.)

I have formally asked our State Chairman and State Committee members to be designated a Trump delegate to the convention, and I look forward to voting for him in NY’s primary on April 19th and in the general election in November.


A comment from another of his constituents read as follows:

“Mr. Borelli, as someone who supported you and as one of your constituents, I would like to know your justification of the Ku Klux Klan and Joe Arpaio’s endorsement of Mr. Trump and his refusal to disavow them. I also would like to understand how you endorse someone to be the leader of the free world who has made overtly racist blanket statements regarding Mexicans and Muslims, as well as disrespectful and inferior sentiments towards women. Please explain. I’ll wait…” 

NYC to Donald Trump: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (denounce hate, TODAY @ City Hall Rally 12/9 at 10AM)

Today Elected Officials from New York State, New York City and various community members and New Yorkers came out w/ the following message to be made loud and clear to Donald Trump.

Don’t let Donald Trump and his frighteningly fascist positions make the rest of the Republican field look mild in comparison.

Let’s ask the media to stop giving him a platform he never earned!

Let’s insist that the Republican National Committee denounce him and his hate speech!

Join us tomorrow as we publicly demand in one voice that he stop his campaign!

Hate mongering has no place in our city! Enough is Enough.

New York City represents the diversity of this country, of voices that are strong enough to shout him down!