Schweppe told CNA that the RFMA “also doesn’t protect conscience for individuals.”
“Ultimately there are going to be religious believers who will have their lives destroyed because of this bill,” he said.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is alarmed about what the bill’s passage will mean for people of faith.
“Senators promoting the Act have claimed that their amended bill ‘respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties,’ but the provisions of the Act that relate to religious liberty are insufficient,” the USCCB wrote in a Nov. 17 statement opposing the bill.
“The Act will be used as evidence that religious believers must surrender to the state’s interest in recognizing same-sex civil marriages,” the letter said, citing bakers, adoption providers, and other faith-based organizations at risk of discrimination.
How many Republicans voted for the bill?
Earlier in November, 12 Republican senators — Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Todd Young of Indiana — joined 50 Democrats to vote for advancing the bill past a filibuster so it could reach a final vote.
The same Republican senators voted for final passage of the bill Tuesday, for a 61-36 vote total.
The critical role Republicans played in passing the RFMA is viewed by many conservatives and people of faith as an egregious breach of trust.
“It's a stunning betrayal from the party that’s supposed to be fighting against wokeness; fighting against this evil movement on the left,” Schweppe said.
Paige Agostin, policy director of the conservative think tank Center for Renewing America, called the passage “the Roe v. Wade of marriage bills.”
(Story continues below)
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“[It] will weaponize the entire Left to go after people of faith,” she told CNA.
Wasn’t same-sex marriage already legalized?
The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage rights in the 2013 and 2015 Supreme Court decisions United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, obliterating the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Under Obergefell, all states are required to allow same-sex marriages.
However, Democrats have pushed for the RFMA bill to further embed same-sex marriage protections into law after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer. In that decision, Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion suggested the court should reconsider all “substantive due process” cases, including Obergefell.