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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sean Maloney (D-NY) offered an amendment that would use the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, 2017, as a vehicle to elevate sexual orientation and gender identity over faith-based hiring protections that were recently included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The Maloney amendment passed tonight by a vote of 223 to 195.
Family Research Council opposed and scored the amendment because it authorizes the government to punish faith-based organizations and entities that operate consistent with their deeply held beliefs. The House also passed the Byrne Amendment by a vote of 233 to 186 to maintain support for the bipartisan Religious Freedom Protection Act and add religious liberty hiring protections for government contractors.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"The adoption of Rep. Sean Maloney's unfair and discriminatory amendment is deeply troubling. However, the passage of Rep. Bradley Byrne's amendment is essential to continue to safeguard religious liberty protections for contractors.
"Congress should not allow the government to punish faith-based contractors, like the Salvation Army, that work and hire in accordance with their First Amendment freedoms. By itself, the administration could use Maloney's elevation of sexual orientation and gender identity for government contractors to gut long held religious freedom protections. This in turn, would strip faith-based contractors of contracts and result in job cuts and loss of services to those in need.
"While we oppose the Maloney provision, we applaud the passage of the Byrne provision to ensure Congress will continue to provide protections for the thousands of faith-based organizations and family-owned businesses that contract with the federal government to offer amazing services to many American communities," Perkins concluded.