"WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve Russell, in the center of a storm over religious liberty and gay rights, said Thursday that people of faith were being discriminated against for holding to 'the laws of nature and nature's God.'
Russell, R-Choctaw, accused the country's top leaders of failing to enforce the constitutional right to free exercise of religion and said 'this nation at its highest level has taken a position against God.'
Russell's remarks came in a speech on the House floor after another day of controversy stemming from his religious liberty amendment to the annual defense policy bill. Democrats claim Russell's amendment would allow religious organizations that receive government contracts to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Russell and supporters say it protects the organizations from having to hire people whose views violate their faith.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2014 that prohibits government contractors from discriminating against the LGBT community. Democrats contend Russell's amendment effectively overturns that order."
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