Heritage launches $1M campaign to run ads against gay marriage bill during NFL, college football games
EXCLUSIVE: A conservative think tank is spending more than $1 million to run ads during NFL and college football games over the Thanksgiving holiday with the hopes of keeping a new bill codifying same-sex marriage out of the end zone in the Senate next week, at least until lawmakers add new religious liberty protections to the bill.
The Heritage Foundation is launching its campaign ahead of Monday’s final vote in the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. This would codify the right for same-sex marriage.
Heritage and other conservatives say the bill is deceptively named and would not deliver new rights to same-sex couples and that it leaves people of faith vulnerable to litigation and other forms retaliation.
“America’s religious liberty is under attack with this impending vote in the Senate,” said Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts. “This legislation does nothing to provide an additional benefit for same-sex couples in America. It’s an attack that sets up the conditions to strip rights from people of faith. It empowers radical activists to target Americans who can’t in good faith support any other than a man/woman marriage. All the facts are rightfully due to the American people. “
The group accuses Democrat lawmakers of “hurrying to cram through their far-left agenda” before the new Congress next year, when the GOP will be in the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Heritage says the 50 Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans who voted to advance the bill last week are “sneaking” through a bill that would “expose religious schools and nonprofits to lawsuits” and worries the law could give the IRS a basis for stripping the tax-exempt status of dissenting religious groups.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has said it would allow activists to sue dissenting faith-based groups in an effort to “force them to abandon their deeply held beliefs about marriage or close their doors.”
“Republican senators claiming the bill protects religious liberty are misleading the public,” said Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president of domestic policy. “Their refusal of requiring Sen. Lee’s amend is proof that they are insincere.” “
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images)
The 30-second ad will air in local broadcasts during the NFL Thanksgiving Day matchups between the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions, and New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. The ad will also air during coverage of four rival college football matches, including the Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers and Purdue Boilermakers and Indiana Hoosiers on Friday.
The campaign, which includes a $300,000 worth of digital ads by the group’s political action arm, Heritage Action, totals $1.3 million, making it the largest advertising campaign by the group to date.
Last week, the Senate cleared the Respect for Marriage Act through a key procedural hurdle in a bipartisan vote of 62-37, and a handful of Republicans gave the measure enough votes to clear the filibuster.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill is a “simple, narrowly tailored but exceedingly important” measure, “as personal as it gets. “
Co-author Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the “bill recognizes the unique and extraordinary importance of marriage on an individual and societal level,” and she touted the bill’s religious liberty and conscious protections. Lee stated that he voted against this bill because the protections for religious liberty were “extremely anemic and largely fraudulent.” “
Heritage Foundation’s new ad claims that Democrat legislators are “hurrying” to get through their far-left agenda.
“Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charitable organizations, educational institutions and nonprofits will be threatened,” Lee said, adding that his amendment would have “shored up those vulnerabilities. He said that it was a shame that it wasn’t included.
Brianna Shelihy is a Fox News Digital politics writer.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.