House Republicans amended a spending bill to include language that would allow adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funding to discriminate against qualified prospective parents and children in need based on the agency’s religious beliefs. The result: Kids could be denied stable, loving homes with prospective parents who are LGBTQ, single, previously divorced or even the “wrong religion.”
President Donald Trump announced last night that Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. The president has shown that he has little respect for the separation of church and state, so it is no surprise that he has chosen a nominee who rejects this fundamental value as well
Today’s Washington Post includes a profile of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), referring to the organization as a “powerhouse.” You may know the ADF as the group that takes on cases of businesses who want the legal right to use religion to discriminate.
Americans United filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging multiple actions by the Trump-Pence administration—including back-room deals with the University of Notre Dame—that would deny countless women access to contraception.
The US Supreme Court today sent back for more review Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, one of several cases circling the court system involving a business that wants to use religious beliefs to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The US Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop opinion is having an immediate and wide-ranging impact. The Arizona Court of Appeals cited the Masterpiece opinion when it ruled against Brush & Nib Studio, one of several businesses around the country that, like Masterpiece, is trying to use religious beliefs to justify discrimination.
June marks Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the strides made toward LGBTQ equality and the many LGBTQ activists who fought to achieve them. This Pride Month and every month, Americans United is proud to stand with our LGBTQ neighbors and oppose discrimination in the name of religion.
Every legislative session, AU tracks hundreds of state bills that, if passed, would undermine religious freedom in nearly every state. We often see trends arise across states. Lawmakers in different states introduce similar bills, and sometimes even the same exact bills with the same exact language. And we can usually figure out why that happens: conservative lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and state Focus on the Family affiliates often shop model bills around to state legislators, who then introduce these model bills in their states. The lobbying groups also share strategies with legislators to help pass their bills. The result: Similar harmful bills appear and pass in many different states in a nationwide onslaught.
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The decision is a bit of an odd duck. The court repeatedly reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to combating discrimination against LGBTQ people in businesses open to the public. Yet the court holds in favor of a bakery that refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.
Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief yesterday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California v. Azar—a challenge to the Trump-Pence administration’s new rules that would allow employers and universities to use religion to deny their employees and students health insurance coverage for birth control.
Gavin Grimm, the transgender teenager challenging his Virginia high school’s discriminatory bathroom policy, received a bittersweet victory on Tuesday when a federal court said the school’s policy violated his constitutional rights.
Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) today introduced the Do No Harm Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill honors two core American values: religious freedom and equal protection of the law. And it couldn’t be more important right now.
Oregon’s Department of Education (ODE) is investigating disturbing reports of potential violations of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights at a public high school. For us at Americans United, the implication that North Bend High School staff may have been using their personal religious beliefs to determine how they treat LGBTQ students is particularly alarming.
On Friday evening, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed two bills that undermine religious freedom: SB 1140, which allows state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents, and HB 2177, which authorizes every government building and public school to display the Ten Commandments.
Oklahoma’s state legislature recently passed a bill, SB 1140, that would allow state-funded child-placing agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents. This bill allows foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to perform, assist or participate in any child placement in the name of religion. So that means religious child placement agencies could turn away prospective parents who want to provide kids with a loving, stable home because they’re a same-sex couple, interfaith, previously divorced, or the “wrong religion.”
According to a new Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey, the majority of Americans oppose allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people in the name of religion, and more Americans are welcoming of marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
Conservative religious groups are attempting to redefine religious freedom to mean the freedom to discriminate against those who don’t share your religious beliefs. What are we to do about it? Americans United’s President and CEO Rachel Laser has some thoughts.
In Kansas, dozens of foster children are spending their nights not in warm beds in safe homes, but on couches and cots in child welfare offices run by state contractors. These children need loving foster and adoptive families to provide the care they need. Yet, in spite of this crisis, Kansas legislators are trying to make it harder for these children to find families who can give them warm, safe beds.
Religious Right groups have worked hard to make the owner of the Colorado bakery that turned away Craig and Mullins into a victim of persecution and a hero. He is neither. He’s simply a person who wants to take an entire segment of our population and treat them poorly because of his narrow interpretation of a religious book.
The University of Notre Dame has announced that its insurance plans for students and faculty will cover some, but not all, forms of contraception. The school's announcement is both discouraging and confusing.
Today, Americans United joined allies to deliver more than 200,000 comments from people objecting to the Trump administration proposal to create a sweeping religious exemption for healthcare providers that would allow them to use religion to justify denying healthcare to patients.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, a landmark case in which the US Supreme Court held that a restaurant owner did not have a religious right to turn away black customers.