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Respect for Marriage Act will 'expose religious schools and nonprofits to lawsuits': Conservative think tank spends $1M to run ads during NFL games against codifying new bill

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, is spending more than $1 million to run advertisements during the Thanksgiving weekend NFL and college football games to warn Americans that the new Respect for Marriage Act will "expose religious schools and nonprofits to lawsuits," Fox News Digital reported. It is the biggest campaign the Heritage Foundation has ever launched.

The Respect for Marriage Act's final vote in the Senate is scheduled for Monday, which, if passed, will codify the right to same-sex marriage.

The Heritage Foundation argued that the bill is deceptively named because it does not give same-sex couples new rights. The foundation also warned that it would leave religious schools and nonprofits vulnerable to litigation, which could give the IRS grounds to revoke tax-exempt statuses from religious groups.

"America's religious liberty is under attack with this impending vote in the Senate," Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told Fox News Digital. "This legislation does not add one additional benefit to same-sex couples in the United States; it's an attack that sets the stage to take rights away from people of faith. What it does accomplish is deputizing radical activists to target Americans who cannot in good faith endorse anything other than a man-woman marriage. The American people deserve all the facts."

The Heritage Foundation accused Democrats of "hurrying to cram through their far-left agenda" before Republicans take the majority in the House next year.

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah proposed an amendment to the legislation to guarantee religious liberty protections, but Democratic lawmakers have refused to put the amendment to a vote.

"Republican senators claiming the bill protects religious liberty are misleading the public," Roger Severino, the Heritage Foundation's vice president of domestic policy, told Fox News Digital. "Their refusal to require Sen. Lee's amendment is proof of their insincerity."

Lee noted that he voted against the measure last week, calling the legislation's religious liberty protections "severely anemic and largely illusory."

"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 stated.

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