The First Amendment Defense Act could end up protecting employers who don't believe in sex outside of marriage...
While we’ve all been celebrating the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage, politicians in the US have been busy supporting a bill that would protect employers who oppose ‘non-conventional’ marriages on religious grounds.
But there’s more. The language used in the bill – The First Amendment Defense Act – is so broad that many critics are worried it could also allow employers to fire women for getting pregnant outside of marriage.
The First Amendment Defense Act is a bill, ‘To prevent discriminatory treatment of any person on the basis of views held with respect to marriage,’ and specifically those who believe that, ‘marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.’
Over the past few years a number of religious schools in the US have fired unmarried teachers for getting pregnant. A teacher in Montana was fired last year after someone sent her Catholic school an anonymous letter revealing her pregnancy. She had been a teacher there for 10 years.
Another teacher in Florida was fired after she announced plans to take maternity leave; she got pregnant 3 weeks before her wedding, which violated the Christian school’s ‘fornication’ policy.
Many of these women went on to receive compensation through the federal courts – something which may well become a thing of the past if the bill is passed.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Rep. Bill Flores said, ‘We’re not going to try to dance on the head of a pin here. This legislation protects an institution based on its sincerely held religious beliefs from persecution.’
When asked if a hypothetical university staff member should be fired for having sex outside of marriage, the sponsor of the bill Senator Mike Lee answered, ‘There are colleges and universities that have a religious belief that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage and that, for religious reasons, recognize a marriage as an institution between a man and between a woman. Those colleges and universities have the right to make that decision on their own.’