In a speech at Atlanta, Sen. Johnny Isakson urged the Georgia Assembly not to pass a state-based First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) bill and instead leave it to Congress to establish a federal standard for all 50 states:
“We ought to have a single, federal standard,” he said. “That ought to be dealt with at the federal level, not the state level.”
Urging legislators not to act on a “controversial” issue the Left hates is like urging a bee to fly to flowers.
Both Isakson and his fellow Georgia senator David Perdue are cosponsors of FADA, so I have to thank him for that. But I also would like to think as a cosponsor that Isakson would understand something very basic: the federal FADA only prevents the federal government from discriminating against gay marriage dissenters. It doesn’t protect state marriage clerks like Kim Davis, or florists like Barronelle Stutzman, or most importantly Atlanta fire chiefs like Kelvin Cochran from being punished by their state governments for failing to treat gay unions as marriages.
Perhaps Isakson’s staff failed him here, and he really doesn’t know.
But given the wave of anti-establishment, anti-Washington outrage that is fueling the surge of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson as outsider candidates, Republicans in Congress need to work harder to make sure they are not, inadvertently or otherwise, fooling the voters with spin.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.