Senate Republicans Introduce Religious ‘License to Discriminate’ Bill

What do you do when someone asks you to treat everybody equally? If you’re a kindergartner, you accept and graciously share your crayons. If you’re a Senate Republican, you throw a tantrum and create a legislative loophole.

This week, 11 Senate Republicans introduced a bill called the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which would prohibit federal agencies from taking away the tax-exempt status of churches and religious groups in spite of any discriminatory practices they may employ. The bill seems tailored to fight the impending “threat” of marriage equality, according to bill author Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), but it opens the door to allowing any kind of discrimination — as long as that discrimination can be backed up by “religious beliefs.”

“What I would like to do is make sure that we go out of our way to protect churches from adverse action that could be taken against them as a result of their doctrinal views of the definition of marriage,” the Utah senator said.

The bill appears to be blatantly sidestepping the post-DOMA-repeal policy that requires federal recognition of legally married same-sex couples. According to Zack Ford at ThinkProgress, the bill could provide an easy path for religious businesses, government officials, or even hospitals to deny services to same-sex couples.

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Australian Court Strikes Down Marriage Equality in a ‘Lost Opportunity,’ Says Atheist Group

Twenty-seven newlywed couples in Australia will have their marriages annulled just days after tying the knot, thanks to a recent decision by Australia’s High Court.

For five days beginning last weekend, same-sex couples could marry in Canberra after the city’s legislative assembly, called the Australian Capital Territory, passed a law in November legalizing marriage equality. But on Thursday, the Australian High Court ruled that the locally-passed law did not comply with the Federal Marriage Act — which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages — and deemed the ACT law unconstitutional.

“The Court held that the Federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same-sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same-sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the Federal Parliament,” the court said in a summary of its judgement.

“The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same-sex couples.

Not at all surprisingly, the Australian Christian Lobby and other Christian groups are at the center of the movement to take down marriage equality. Lobby member Lyle Shelton told Australia’s ABC1 that same-sex marriage is essentially a lost cause and he wants a referendum to take it completely off the table.

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Judge Rules Against Bakery Owner Who Would Rather Close Shop Than Serve Gay Couples

The owner of a Colorado bakery faces legal trouble for refusing to provide a gay couple with a wedding cake — and despite his best efforts, his religious beliefs aren’t helping him in court. Last July, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig approached Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to bake a cake for their upcoming wedding. The [Read More...]

This Christian Group’s List of ‘Ingredients’ For Marriage Equality is Outrageous

Now that marriage equality has been signed into law in Illinois, the anti-gay-rights Illinois Family Institute is bored. Instead of redirecting their energy to a more worthy cause — like a political science class or maybe yoga — the nonprofit Christian ministry created a sloppy image attempting to satirize the state’s recent marriage victory.

Perhaps more than any other material they’ve ever produced, this graphic proves that IFI have no idea what they’re talking about. If this is the logic that guided their work, it’s no wonder they lost.

The fake label reads “Same-Sex Marriage: Emergency Energy for a Desperate Politician” and the product it’s selling is as like to convince you to oppose gay marriage as it is nutritious.

Here are their “ingredients” for same-sex marriage:

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Ex-Christian Musician Says Atheism is About Embracing Life, Not Hating Christianity

This week, NPR published a profile of Taylor Muse, the leader of an Austin-based indie rock band that got their start when they left Christianity. Now, members of Quiet Company pride themselves on music that encourages questioning, or even rejecting, faith and opting for a life of Humanism instead.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="384"]Taylor Muse and Quiet Company[/caption]

Muse, 31, told NPR his adolescence revolved around his Southern Baptist church in Texas. But after he moved away, got married, and discovered Kurt Vonnegut, among other big life changes, he realized he couldn’t participate in Christianity anymore.

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