Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) today said a growing “climate of intolerance and intimidation” convinced him to introduce a bill to protect Americans from losing a tax benefit or otherwise being penalized by the federal government because of their religious views on marriage.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act is narrowly tailored to prevent the government from targeting those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman, Labrador said in the closing session of the Conservative Policy Summit convened at The Heritage Foundation by its political action arm, Heritage Action for America.

>>> Check Out: Obama DOJ Should Respect State Authority on Marriage

“We should not use government to penalize those who think and act differently,” he said, stressing that “all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”

Increasing threats to Americans’ foundational freedom of religion look to be one of the most important issues of the next few years, Labrador said, leaving him “deeply concerned” that the Obama Administration will discriminate against those who cannot endorse same-sex marriage because of their core religious beliefs.

He said the administration’s bent is seen in a Obamacare provision forcing religious employers to choose between paying hefty fines and providing “free” coverage of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs for employees. That measure, which opponents call the HHS mandate, is before the Supreme Court.

Our bill doesn’t take anything away from anybody,“ Labrador said, and ought to be acceptable to members of both parties in the House and Senate.

Labrador also joined a panel discussion featuring Heritage policy analyst Sarah Torre, who has written extensively on the HHS mandate, and Austin Nimock, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents religious employers.

Nimock noted that anti-discrimination laws weren’t designed to allow you to sue someone for turning down a job because of his religious beliefs – providing a cake or photography for a same-sex commitment ceremony, for example – even though you easily got what you wanted elsewhere in the market place.

This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.