“As Justice [Neil] Gorsuch put it, there really is no world in which that can be constitutional. That’s why I find it somewhat perplexing,” Lee said in an online speech to the Utah-based conservative Sutherland Foundation.
Lee read from a dissent by Gorsuch saying Nevada law could allow movie theaters and casinos to have up to 600 guests, “but churches, synagogues and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshipers, no matter how large the building, no matter how distant the individual” — despite special 1st Amendment protection for religious freedom.
Lee said the Supreme Court’s action amounted to “a near miss” in protecting religious rights. He predicted that when the case is argued on its merits — and not just seeking an injunction — the Nevada law will be overturned. “It is therefore puzzling that they didn’t grant the injunction that was sought.”
“Such executive action would send the nation and government leaders a clear and unequivocal message that religious liberty matters, and that no state or locality can unilaterally strip away protected constitutional rights,” Lee wrote to Trump.
That bill, originally introduced in 2015 and reintroduced later, seeks to protect individuals and institutions from punitive government action for believing that marriage is between one man and one woman and for opposing sex outside of marriage.