Republicans back law that would permit anti-gay discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Republican National Convention has passed a new anti-gay resolution, supporting a law that would actively permit discrimination against gay people.

The GOP’s national body threw its weight behind the ‘First Amendment Defense Act’ at its summer meeting last week – a law that would prioritise religious ‘freedom’ above laws protecting LGBT people.

If passed, the First Amendment Defense Act would ban any action against businesses and charities that actively discriminate against LGBT people.

It would ban the government from acting against religious people refusing to serve LGBT customers – effectively stopping any action against businesses or nonprofits that discriminate against LGBT Americans, or turn away gays.

The law would also permit clerks to refuse to do their jobs – allowing them to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if their religious ‘beliefs’ don’t want them to. It’s unclear whether this would also protect clerks whose religious beliefs contradict divorce or interracial marriage.

The resolution states: “The First Amendment to the US Constitution should protect Americans from the action of a narrow 5 to 4 majority of the Supreme Court who have upheld gay marriage without regard to the democratic rights of the people or the states, and without any religious liberty protections.”

Claiming that “Many on the Left exhibit an intensifying hatred and intolerance for gay marriage dissenters”, it adds: “The Republican National Committee urges Congress to pass and the President to sign The First Amendment Defense Act to protect the rights of believers to equal treatment by the government of The United States of America.”

Congressman Raul Labrador, who is sponsoring the bill, claimed to the Daily Signal: “Our bill ensures that the federal government does not penalize Americans for following their religious beliefs or moral convictions on traditional marriage.

“Our bill shields against federal intrusion without taking anything away from anyone. In a shifting landscape, it’s time that Congress pro-actively defend this sacred right.”

TJ Helmstetter, spokesperson for the Democratic National Convention, said: “The Supreme Court ruled, love won, it’s time for the Republicans to get over it.

“Yet there are county clerks who still refuse to issue marriage licenses and the RNC wants to tell businesses they’re allowed to discriminate against LGBT people.

“Democrats want to continue to move the country forward, while the GOP wants to take us back. It’s that simple.”