Text: S.1808 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/12/2013)

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 1808 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

  1st Session
                                S. 1808

 To prevent adverse treatment of any person on the basis of views held 
                       with respect to marriage.



            December 12 (legislative day, December 11), 2013

Mr. Lee (for himself, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Coburn, 
Mr. Rubio, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Wicker, Mr. Risch, Mr. Graham, and 
 Mr. Cochran) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
               referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


                                 A BILL

 To prevent adverse treatment of any person on the basis of views held 
                       with respect to marriage.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Marriage and Religious Freedom 


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Leading legal scholars concur that conflicts between 
        same-sex marriage and religious liberty are real and should be 
        legislatively addressed.
            (2) As the President stated in response to the decision of 
        the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, 
        ``Americans hold a wide range of views'' on the issue of same-
        sex marriage, and ``maintaining our Nation's commitment to 
        religious freedom'' is ``vital''.
            (3) Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion 
        is a Government interest of the highest order. Legislatively 
        enacted measures advance this interest by remedying, deterring, 
        and preventing Government interference with religious exercise 
        in a way that complements the protections mandated by the First 
        Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
            (4) Laws that protect the free exercise of religious 
        beliefs about marriage will encourage private citizens and 
        institutions to demonstrate similar tolerance and therefore 
        contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.


    (a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the 
Federal Government shall not take an adverse action against a person, 
wholly or partially on the basis that such person acts in accordance 
with a religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the 
union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly 
reserved to such a marriage.
    (b) Adverse Action Defined.--As used in subsection (a), an adverse 
action means any action taken by the Federal Government to--
            (1) deny or revoke an exemption from taxation under section 
        501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of the person who 
        is acting in accordance with the religious belief referred to 
        in subsection (a);
            (2) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any 
        charitable contribution made to or by such person;
            (3) alter in any way the Federal tax treatment of, or cause 
        any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, such 
        person or such person's employees with respect to any benefit 
        provided or not provided by such person to such person's 
        employees, wholly or partially on the basis that the benefit is 
        provided or not provided on account of a religious belief 
        referred to in subsection (a);
            (4) deem any employee benefit plan covering employees of 
        such person to have lost its status as a ``qualified plan'' 
        under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or 
        to be in violation of any part of the Employee Retirement 
        Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.), wholly or 
        partially on the basis that the benefit plan fails to provide a 
        benefit, right, or feature on account of such person's 
        religious belief referred to in subsection (a);
            (5) deny or exclude such person from receiving any Federal 
        grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, 
        certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar 
        position or status;
            (6) deny or withhold from such person any benefit under a 
        Federal benefit program; or
            (7) otherwise discriminate against such person.


    (a) Cause of Action.--A person may assert an actual or threatened 
violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding 
and obtain compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, 
or any other appropriate relief against the Federal Government. 
Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be 
governed by the general rules of standing under Article III of the 
    (b) Attorneys' Fees.--Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes (42 
U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended by inserting ``the Marriage and Religious 
Freedom Act,'' after ``the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized 
Persons Act of 2000,''.
    (c) Authority of United States To Enforce This Act.--The Attorney 
General may bring an action for injunctive or declaratory relief 
against an independent establishment described in section 104(1) of 
title 5, United States Code, or an officer or employee of that 
independent establishment, to enforce compliance with this Act. Nothing 
in this subsection shall be construed to deny, impair, or otherwise 
affect any right or authority of the Attorney General, the United 
States, or any agency, officer, or employee of the United States, 
acting under any law other than this subsection, to institute or 
intervene in any proceeding.


    (a) Broad Construction.--This Act shall be construed in favor of a 
broad protection of religious beliefs described in section 3, to the 
maximum extent permitted by the terms of this Act and the Constitution.
    (b) No Preemption, Repeal, or Narrow Construction.--Nothing in this 
Act shall be construed to preempt State law, or repeal Federal law, 
that is equally as protective of religious beliefs as, or more 
protective of religious beliefs than, this Act. Nothing in this Act 
shall be considered to narrow the meaning or application of any other 
State or Federal law protecting religious beliefs.
    (c) Severability.--If any provision of this Act or any application 
of such provision to any person or circumstance is held to be 
unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act and the application of the 
provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.


    In this Act:
            (1) Federal benefit program.--The term ``Federal benefit 
        program'' has the meaning given that term in section 552a of 
        title 5, United States Code.
            (2) Federal government.--The term ``Federal Government'' 
        includes each authority of any branch of the Government of the 
        United States.
            (3) Person.--The term ``person'' means a person as defined 
        in section 1 of title 1, United States Code, and includes any 
        such person regardless of religious affiliation or lack 
        thereof, and regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.

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