Americans United supports true religious freedom—the freedom to believe or not believe according to your own conscience. SB 892 and HB 3859 pervert this cherished American right, allowing taxpayer-funded child-welfare agencies to use their religious beliefs to harm children who need a caring home and the families that long to provide one for them.
This post was written by Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich of West Virginia, the two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit Americans United and our allies filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
On Tuesday, just before the filing deadline for bills for the North Carolina legislature’s regular session, state GOP legislators introduced a ridiculous anti-LGBTQ bill, HB 780, which would ban marriage for same-sex couples. Less than 24 hours later, House Speaker Tim Moore declared that the bill would not advance, effectively killing this misguided legislation.
This week's rulings in federal court are undoubtedly huge victories for the LGBTQ community. It also means that now’s the time to be even more vigilant in protecting against efforts to undermine the progress towards full LGBTQ equality.
Today is Transgender Day of Visibility—a day dedicated to empowering and recognizing the transgender community globally. Today, and every day, Americans United stands with the transgender community against attacks and discrimination in the name of religion.
Last week, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, extended a piece of advice to fellow Republican President Donald J. Trump on his rumored draft “religious freedom” executive order that would allow the use of religion to discriminate: “Don’t do it.”
Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a trio of cases that will decide whether religiously affiliated hospital systems must comply with federal pension protections. The large health systems don’t want to; they argue they should get a narrow exemption to the law carved out for houses of worship. But these health systems, with nearly 100,000 employees, are not churches.
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.