Senate Passes Respect for Marriage Act that Includes Robust Religious Freedom Protections Secured by Tillis

Government and Politics

December 1, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) supported the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, bipartisan legislation he helped negotiate and pass, which ensures robust protections for religious freedom and First Amendment rights.

“This bipartisan legislation is a good compromise that provides permanent certainty for same-sex couples while ensuring robust protections for churches and religious organizations, protections that are more robust and expansive than what currently exists in federal law,” said Senator Tillis. “This bill protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution and Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and cannot be used to diminish or repeal any such protection. I worked hard to include this religious freedom amendment so churches and religious organizations will continue to operate and worship free from government interference, and I want to thank my colleagues for coming together on a bipartisan basis to pass the legislation.”

The Senators’ bipartisan amendment:

    Confirms that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.

    Guarantees that this bill may not be used to deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity – including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, grants, contracts, agreements, guarantees, educational funding, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, claims, or defenses – provided that the benefit, right, or status does not arise from a marriage. For instance, a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.

    States that the bill does not require or authorize the Federal government to recognize polygamous marriages.

    Recognizes the importance of marriage, acknowledges that diverse beliefs and the people who hold them are due respect, and affirms that couples, including same-sex and interracial couples, deserve the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection of marriage.