Heritage launches $1 million campaign to run anti-gay marriage bill ads during NFL college football games

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EXCLUSIVE: A conservative think tank is spending more than $1 million to run ads during NFL and college football games over the Thanksgiving holiday in hopes of supporting a new bill codifying marriage between people of the same sex outside the end zone in the Senate, at least until next week. lawmakers add new religious freedom protections to bill.

The Heritage Foundation’s campaign is being launched ahead of the final vote in the Senate on Monday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the right to same-sex marriage.

Heritage and other conservatives say the bill has a misleading name and would not give new rights to same-sex couples and leaves people of faith vulnerable to litigation and other forms of retaliation.

“America’s religious freedom is under attack with this impending Senate vote,” said Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts. “This legislation doesn’t add an extra benefit to same-sex couples in the United States; it’s an attack that sets the stage to take away rights from people of faith. What it does do is replace radical activists with attacking Americans that they can’t get it right. faith endorses anything other than a man-woman marriage. The American people deserve all the facts.”

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The group accuses Democratic lawmakers of “rushing to push their far-left agenda” ahead of the new Congress next year, when the GOP will hold a majority in the US House of Representatives.

Heritage says the 50 Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans who voted to advance the bill last week are “pushing” through a bill that would “expose religious schools and nonprofits to lawsuits” and worries that the law could give the IRS a basis to eliminate taxes. exemption status for dissident religious groups.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pend├Ęs, has said it would allow activists to sue dissident religious groups in an effort to “force them to abandon their deeply held beliefs about marriage or close their doors.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, offered an amendment to the legislation to cement religious freedom protections into the bill, but Democratic leadership has so far refused to allow a vote on the amendment.

“Republican senators who claim the bill protects religious freedom are misleading the public,” said Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president for domestic policy. “His refusal to require Senator Lee’s amendment is evidence of his lack of sincerity.”

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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images)

The 30-second ad will air on local broadcasts during the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day matchups between the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings, the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions, and the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. The ad will also be seen during coverage of four college football rivalry games, including the Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers on Friday and Indiana Hoosiers vs. Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday.

The campaign, which includes $300,000 worth of digital ads from the group’s political action arm, Heritage Action, totals $1.3 million, making it the group’s largest ad campaign to date.

Last week, the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act over a key procedural hurdle on a bipartisan vote of 62-37, with a handful of Republicans giving the measure enough votes to clear the filibuster.

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the bill a “simple, tailored but very important” measure, “as personal as it gets.”

Co-author Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the “bill recognizes the unique and extraordinary importance of marriage at the individual and societal levels,” and touted the Bill’s religious freedom and conscious protections.

But Lee said he voted against the bill “because the religious freedom protections were severely anemic and largely illusory.”

A new ad from the Heritage Foundation claims that Democratic lawmakers are "rushing to cram his far-left agenda."

The Heritage Foundation’s new ad claims Democratic lawmakers are “rushing to push their far-left agenda.”

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“Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charities, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations will be threatened,” Lee said, adding that his amendment would have “reinforced these vulnerabilities”.

“It’s a shame it wasn’t included,” he said.

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