Mar 18 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday in opposition to H.R. 5, the Equality Act.
“It is not an exaggeration to say the five lines related to Religious Freedom Restoration Act in this bill represent one of the most dramatic assaults against religious faith and conscience that I have seen in my time in Congress,” said Sen. Moran. “The effects will be devastating to communities in Kansas and across the country, and I will oppose the use of such government power to infringe on matters of religious beliefs and conscious.”
This legislation was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 25, 2021 and then referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Sen. Moran’s remarks were delivered following a U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing related to the Equality Act.
Click HERE to watch Sen. Moran’s full speech
Remarks as prepared:
“Mr. President, today the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a grave threat to rights of conscience. The House recently passed the Equality Act, which would demolish religious liberty protections, ironically making Americans of certain beliefs decidedly unequal under the law.
“This is not an accident of careless bill drafting that will permit this outcome. The language is so expansive and explicit that it must be intentionally hostile to people of belief.
“The language expands the definition of public accommodation to include prohibiting discrimination by “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a…food bank, service or care center, [or] shelter…” and any organization receiving federal funding. Religiously-affiliated entities, seeking to put their beliefs into action outside their church, or mosque, or synagogue walls, must comply.
“The authors know such an expansive definition infringes on the constitutional right of religious liberty. That’s because this legislation would explicitly deny recourse to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, a bill passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress before being signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
“This denial cuts off two legal paths for people of conscience: one, an individual or institution cannot sue the federal government to prevent enforcement of this act without the statutory authority of RFRA; and two, an individual or institution that is sued for discrimination under this bill cannot rely on RFRA as a defense.
“It is not an exaggeration to say the five lines related to RFRA in this bill represent one of the most dramatic assaults against religious faith and conscience that I have seen in my time in Congress. The effects will be devastating to communities in Kansas and across the country.
“If passed, people of faith must decide whether to adhere to their deeply held beliefs or to the law. This law effectively says that it is better to have fewer doctors in rural America that desperately needs them than to have doctors of moral conviction; that it is better to shutter social services administered by faith-based groups that fill gaps in the safety net than to allow them to remain true to their mission; or that it is better to force the closure of religious schools in urban areas that so often provide a path out of poverty than to allow them to remain open and teach the principles of faith.
“In response to the Obama contraception mandate a decade ago, I warned, ‘If the government can compel an individual or group to violate one’s conscience, then there is no limit to government power.’ That remains true nearly ten years later. It will remain into the future.
“I will oppose the use of such government power to infringe on matters of religious beliefs and conscious. I stand in opposition to the Equality Act.”
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