Today Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed SB 1324/HB 2025, a combination First Amendment Defense Act and Pastor Protection Act that would have allowed religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ Virginians. In his veto statement, Governor McAuliffe called the bill “unconstitutional” and stated that any bill that privileges one religious belief “equates to discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.”
After the backlash Georgia faced last year when the legislature attempted to allow taxpayer-funded discrimination, it’s surprising that the state senate is willing to go down this road again. And even shocking that they made the target of discrimination youth who need adoptive and foster homes and the parents who want open their hearts to them.
In this excerpt from AU's Wall of Separation blog, Director of Communications Rob Boston explains why Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, is a danger to true religious freedom.
Today, the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear HB 2232. Although the bill’s title claims it would it promotes “non-discrimination” and protects “religious liberty,” it would do the exact opposite.
Judge Ruth Neely, a municipal judge and part-time circuit court magistrate in Pinedale, Wyoming, has never been asked to preside over the marriage of a same-sex couple. Nonetheless, she announced that, based on her religious beliefs, she’d refuse to do so if asked. Last week the Wyoming Supreme Court formally reprimanded Judge Neely because she wouldn’t treat everyone the same way and apply the law fairly.
For the second year in a row, the Virginia General Assembly has sent the Governor “religious freedom” bill that would allow religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate. Religious freedom is a fundamental value. It guarantees us the right to believe—or not—as we see fit. But it does not give anyone the right to discriminate against others.
SB 149 gives taxpayer-funded child-placement agencies the right to refuse to provide services to children if doing so is contrary to the agency’s religious beliefs—basically providing them with a religious right to discriminate against nearly anyone.
The Supreme Court this morning announced that it is remanding and vacating the lower-court decision in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the first transgender-rights case that the high court had ever agreed to hear.
Gavin Grimm is the 17-year-old high-school senior at the center of the first U.S. Supreme Court case on the civil rights of transgender persons. At issue: Whether a provision in federal law known as Title IX, which forbids discrimination in public schools on the basis of sex, also protects transgender students who have been denied the equal use of school facilities based on their gender identity.
Donald J. Trump will address a joint session of Congress tonight and will be setting out his vision and goals for his new administration. While we don’t know the full details of what he will say, we will be watching for his comments on initiatives that may harm our LGBTQ neighbors and others in the name of religion.
On Tuesday, February 21, 20 Republican Georgia state senators dropped SB 233, a bill many are calling this year’s “religious freedom” bill. By Thursday, however, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal had already vowed to veto it. This is no real surprise considering Governor Deal vetoed a similar bill last year after it evoked large-scale opposition across the state and the country as well as threats of boycotts.
Last night the Trump administration officially revoked an Obama-era guidance reminding public schools that a provision in a 1972 federal law known as Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
Oklahoma's SB 197, a "religious freedom" bill, passed out of the Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, along with two other extreme bills. This post from AU'sWall of Separation blog explains why this SB 197 and another bill that seeks to violate church-state separation are so dangerous.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance reminding schools that Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are expected to rescind this guidance.
Earlier this week, the South Dakota House Health and Human Services Committee voted 5-2 to allow child placement agencies to substitute their religious beliefs for the child’s best interest, leaving us wondering why?
Today, the Supreme Court of the state of Washington issued an important ruling, unanimously holding that a business can’t ignore the state anti-discrimination law and refuse to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding.
According to new Public Religion Research Institute analysis, a clear majority of religious Americans oppose business owners using their religious beliefs to deny goods and services to LGBTQ individuals and couples. Indeed, religious freedom gives us the freedom to believe— or not— as we see fit. It does not, however, permit anyone to use religion as an excuse to discriminate.
Americans United and allies sent a letter to Virginia's Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology to warn of the real harm that HB 2025, a state combo Pastor Protection Act and First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), could inflict on many Virginians. The bill, as written, could allow individuals, for-profit corporations, and even taxpayer-funded organizations use religious beliefs about marriage as an excuse to discriminate against their neighbors.
We will continue to fight for our neighbors— LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, non-theists and anyone who faces discrimination based on someone else’s religious beliefs. But we need your help too. You need to contact the White House and tell the President to reject any executive order that sanctions discrimination in the name of religion.
Yesterday night, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch's past judicial opinions are cause for grave concern, particularly his decisions regarding Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell.
State legislatures have not had much luck in passing sweeping bills like RFRAs or FADAs, but the record is mixed on more targeted “religious freedom” bills that could undermine LGBTQ rights in healthcare, student life, and families.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions wrapped up its hearing on Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education at 8:45 last night, and will be back at 10 this morning to hold another confirmation hearing. Up today: Trump’s pick for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).
As state legislators return to work this month, we’re monitoring newly introduced “religious freedom” bills around the country that could harm our neighbors. As a refresher, we thought we would review the different types of “religious freedom” legislation we expect to see. First up, First Amendment Defense Acts.
Right now, state lawmakers are trying to use religion as an excuse to discriminate, but we're ready to fight back! Our 2017 State Legislation Tracker is your one-stop-shop for news, resources and most importantly, how you can make a difference.
We applaud companies like Sanderson Farms for recognizing that HB 1523 poses a threat to their employees and Mississippians as a whole. We hope that others join them in standing up to those who would harm our neighbors.