Redefining “Tolerance” Can't Make GOP Out To Be Victim In Marriage Discrimination

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A new bill proposed by Republicans in Congress will give legal protections to individuals who morally object to marriage equality on the basis of “religious liberty.”

Congressional Republicans and state Republicans in Texas have employed a scorched earth policy in the culture wars towards anything resembling a progressive agenda item by the Obama Administration, but in the wake of the apocalyptic rhetoric their harsh stance against marriage-equality threatens any chance to sway a crucial voting bloc — Millennials.

This is a problem for Republicans for the same reason that Millennials are also the most highly-prized target for advertisers. Why? Because they are opinion makers and trendsetters, and they have the polls to prove it. A Pew Research tracking poll shows that millennials support marriage equality at a rate of 66% and growing, and that pattern of increased support was mimicked by prior generations. The poll also reveals that support for marriage equality is also growing with in the Republican Party and Independents are right in line with Democrats at 57%.

Find out below the jump how Republicans and others like the Heritage Foundation are attempting to redefine the word “tolerance”…The bill proposed by Congressman Labrador (R-ID) would ensure the Republican party doesn't retrieve any of the young votes they ceded to Obama and the Democrats since 2008 (contrary to expectations voters 18-35 were a greater share of Obama's votes in 2012). Among the bills sponsors are 6 members of the Texas Republican congressional delegation: Louis Gohmert, Randy Weber, Kevin Brady, Pete Sessions and Bill Flores.

According to its authors, H.R. 3133, dubbed the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” would, “prohibit discrimination through the federal tax code against individuals or institutions that exercise religious conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

The truth of the matter is, it is wrong to use the power of the government to discriminate against any individual, or conversely to grant the right of discrimination to an individual. The Republicans pushing this bill may hide behind the banner of religious liberty, but it's a thin veil for their disregard for a separation of conservative Christian church and state. The Heritage Foundation applauded the idea behind the bill saying it, “encourages tolerance amongst citizens and promotes peaceful coexistence even in the midst of disagreement.”  Of course what it really does is attempt to redefine the word tolerance.

This type of blatant exploitation of wedge issues has even drawn ire from the world's most famous and influential Christian, Pope Francis. He recently delivered further proof that the Republicans don't have a monopoly on religious conviction, and are pushing not just a Christian agenda but a very conservative Christian one, when he criticized many church leaders for growing “obsessed” with gays. The LGBT community has witnessed major changes over the last few years from sweeping state ballot initiatives banning marriage equality to the ending of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. These actions along with changes in attitude represent a no-turning-back paradigm shift in the American understanding of liberty and tolerance, which will pose problems for Republicans that think they can ride the tradition train back into the mainstream.

Freud had his own idea about the roots of homophobia, and let's just say it involved being a hypocrite. And, what would Jesus do? Well, he said himself, “not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men.” Matthew 6:5

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

1 Comment

  1. The Freedom to Marry Does Not Threaten Religious Liberty
    The authors of this discriminatory legislation should know that it is not supported by most Americans.

    The results of a Third Way/HRC national poll are clear:

    *Americans know that our laws and Constitution already robustly protect religious liberty, and they do not think marriage or non-discrimination laws threaten religious beliefs or practices.

    *Voters oppose new proposals which would allow government employees, businesses, or individuals who oppose marriage on religious grounds to deny services to gay people or couples.

    *When it comes to religious exemptions, voters are clear that they should be limited to places like churches and synagogues and people like pastors, priests, and rabbis.

    See the full polling results at:

    Chuck Smith

    Executive Director, Equality Texas

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