Evangelist Franklin Graham is warning Christians that the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which is set to be voted on by the Senate Monday, is a deceptive smoke-screen that would change the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman while not protecting those who hold a traditional view of marriage.
The Respect for Marriage Act “could impact you, your family, your church, and our nation,” Graham wrote on Facebook during the weekend. “The name is a smoke-screen. Very deceptive.”
He compared it to the Democrats' so-called Inflation Reduction Act that “did nothing but increase inflation and further hurt our economy.”
“The current version of the Respect for Marriage Act being pushed by Senator Chuck Schumer is designed to provide strong protections for same-sex marriage — but it fails to protect those of us who believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” explained Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
“It is dangerous legislation that would be used against individuals, churches and organizations who honor traditional marriage.”
The bill to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage into federal law cleared a major procedural hurdle in the Senate earlier this month, with critics saying that a religious freedom amendment added to the legislation doesn’t adequately protect those with deeply held beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Graham said Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s proposed amendment “can improve” the legislation and “bring critically-needed protection for religious liberty and rights of conscience.”
He continued, “Many say this is a long shot, but we desperately need senators to demand the Lee Amendment be added to the current version of the Respect for Marriage Act before it is finalized.”
The measure would codify the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to same-sex marriage, into federal law and formally repeal the unenforced Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman at the federal level.
Graham urged Christians to call their senators “as soon as possible and ask them to vote YES for the Lee Amendment — or to vote NO to the Respect for Marriage Act if it doesn’t have this amendment.”
He warned, “Time is short — freedom-loving people have to take action before it’s too late.”
The Respect for Marriage Act previously passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives in July with the support of all Democrats and 47 House Republicans.
The legislation would require all states to give "full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals."
Passage of the bill has become a top priority for congressional Democrats following the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, determining that the U.S. Constitution doesn't contain a right to abortion. In a concurring opinion in Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas described the substantive due process as "legal fiction," suggesting that the justices should "reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents," including Obergefell.
In a recent op-ed for The Christian Post, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also warned that the bill “opens the door to American persecution.”
“As the mainstream culture moves further and further away from a Christian worldview, I’ve witnessed the hostility to moral truth creep closer to our shores,” he wrote. “The West, once the safe haven of free speech and religion, is turning cold to the foundations that made our countries thrive.”
He cited an FRC report released in July, which tracked 99 incidents of government attacks on religious freedom against Christians or Christian institutions across 14 Western countries in the last two years alone.