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.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today welcomed the introduction of the Do No Harm Act in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
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.
A federal appeals court today issued a welcome decision in EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes. The case involves a funeral home in Michigan whose owner fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, when she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to wear women’s clothing. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the business for unlawful employment discrimination.
Opposition is growing since the Georgia Senate passed SB 375, a harmful bill that would allow government-funded adoption and foster care agencies to use religion to discriminate against kids in their care and prospective parents.
Rachel Laser, Americans United’s new executive director, introduces herself and her vision for building a coalition of advocates who understand that church-state separation is the foundation of religious freedom for all.
In Georgia, there are more than 14,000 children in foster care. Tomorrow morning at 8:00am, legislators there will debate a bill that would make it even harder for these children to find safe, stable, and loving homes.
It’s February, and that means students across the country are back on college and university campuses for a new semester. One of the highlights of campus life is joining student groups. But in some states, students at public universities could be denied the opportunity to participate in a student club because of who they are.
The University of Notre Dame has flip-flopped again: Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins announced this month that university-sponsored health insurance plans for students and staff will stop covering some forms of birth control. The decision will affect more than 17,000 people who rely on the school for health insurance.
Today, Americans United dismissed our lawsuit challenging harmful rules issued by the Trump administration in October 2017 that allow employers and universities to cite religious or moral objections in order to deny employees and students health insurance coverage of contraception. Although the rules still remain in effect, our plaintiffs will have access to birth control due to some fortuitous events.
Tonight, President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress and the American public. As he’s done in speech after speech during the first year of his presidency, he’ll likely claim he’s protecting religious freedom when in reality he’s doing the exact opposite by advancing policies that promote discrimination in the name of religion, politicize houses of worship, and compel taxpayers to fund religious schools.
Americans United and our allies this week urged a federal appeals court to affirm that an eastern Pennsylvania school district has the right to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity.