Brian S. Brown
via YouTube/Fox News

The latest missive from Brian S. Brown, on behalf of National Organization for Marriage, claims that NOM can stop legislation in its tracks … if only people would donate money to the failed organization. I say failed because NOM does not fulfill any of its promises but continues to make new ones:

Democrats in Congress are continuing their assault on the constitutionally guaranteed promise of freedom of religion by introducing new legislation dubiously called the “Do No Harm” Act (HR 3222). This bill would deny any religious liberty assertion if the religious liberty claim would cause “dignitary harm” to another individual. What exactly is dignitary harm? The proposed law doesn’t say, but legal experts believe it means any perceived slight that is claimed by someone, regardless of the intent of the individual asserting the claim—effectively ending religious liberty protections in most circumstances!

There is no “constitutionally guaranteed promise of freedom of religion” which extends beyond Free Exercise (which is -tempered by the Establishment Clause). Furthermore HR-3222 does not exist. It died in the last session. Brown is referring to HR-1450. The bill would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I will get back to that but first, let us return to Mr. Brown:

Let’s take the example of Christian baker Jack Phillips. … …

Let’s not because the RFRA does not apply to anything other than federal law. Brown is also making a big deal out of the phrase “dignitary harm.” That is not part of the law. What he is referring to is part of “The sense of Congress:”

the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 should not be interpreted to authorize an exemption from generally applicable law that imposes meaningful harm, including dignitary harm, on a third party…

The point is that interpretation is somewhat irrelevant. Therefore, Brown’s gibberish about what legal expert believe is fiction. Speaking of fiction:

Send NOM money so that they can do what exactly?

NOM’s opposition to HR-1450 is meaningless and pointless. There is nothing they can do to affect this measure. Beyond that, the bill is masturbatory because it does not have the votes in the Senate to pass and even if it did Trump sure as hell is not signing it into law. In other words, NOM’s plea is a fictional account of a bill that has no chance of becoming law.

I am not aware of any actual legal case that this bill would affect were it enacted as law. Again, it has to involve federal law.

Brown uses some deceptive language about the Masterpiece Cakeshop matter, suggesting that the Supreme Court ruled on the underlying merits. The Court only ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was clearly hostile to religion. The Court subsequently declined to hear a more compelling case concerning a discriminatory bed & breakfast establishment in Hawaii.

According thebill summary from the prior session (the new summary has not yet been posted):

This bill makes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) inapplicable to federal laws (or implementations of laws) that:

  • protect against discrimination or the promotion of equal opportunity, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, Executive Order 11246 (concerning equal employment opportunity), the Violence Against Women Act, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) rules entitled “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”;
  • require employers to provide wages, other compensation, or benefits, including leave;
  • protect collective activity in the workplace;
  • protect against child labor, abuse, or exploitation; or
  • provide for access to, information about, referrals for, provision of, or coverage for, any health care item or service.

If this passes the House I will provide more analysis.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.