Legislation Bill Type
The bills we track in our Legislation Tracker generally fall into a few different categories. Below are the definitions of these categories and how you can find more information about each one.
Religious Freedom Restoration Acts
These bills would create or expand a state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRAs authorize religious exemptions to each and every state law on the books. If any state law or policy is deemed to place a “substantial burden” on the religious beliefs of a person (and often even a for-profit corporation), the state must show that it has a “compelling interest” and that the law is “narrowly tailored” to fulfilling that interest. Although RFRAs were originally intended to protect genuine religious freedom, many states are now adopting RFRAs in order to override nondiscrimination laws and deny women reproductive healthcare. For more on RFRA, including talking points on why states shouldn't adopt Indiana-like RFRAs or replicate the federal RFRA, please check out our RFRA page.
First Amendment Defense Acts
Also known as FADAs, these are based on a federal bill that would allow private businesses, federal contractors and grantees, and even government employees to discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried couples, people who have remarried, single mothers, those who have had sex outside of marriage, and others. Some state bills are narrower or broader than the federal FADA; however, all of these bills seek to sanction discrimination, allowing individuals and entities to ignore laws that conflict with their religious beliefs about marriage. See more about FADAs here.
These bills would allow or even require government employees, for-profit business, or government contractors and grantees to discriminate against same-sex couples who are married or seeking to marry. Find out more about this issue on our marriage page.
Government Employees: These bills would allow government employees and officials to withhold marriage licenses, refuse to solemnize weddings, or otherwise block recognition of some or all marriages. Check out our talking points here.
Wedding Services: These bills would allow private businesses and individuals to refuse to provide wedding services or products to same-sex couples or other couples.
Penalties for Recognizing Marriage: These bills would require firing of or pay cuts for government officials and employees who follow the Constitution and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.
Pastor Protection Acts: Generally, these bills prohibit the state from requiring clergy and religious institutions to perform marriages for same-sex or other couples if such marriages conflict with their religious beliefs. Some Pastor Protection Acts, however, are more expansive and would also allow commercial entities owned or run by religious organizations to refuse to provide any wedding related services to couples whose marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs. See more about clergy and marriage equality here.
Nullification of Marriage Equality: These bills would defy the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution by declaring that the state will recognize only marriages between one man and one woman.
Changing The State's Role In Marriage: These bills would eliminate or reduce the state’s role in licensing or solemnizing marriages.
These bills that would allow government-funded agencies to deprive children of safe, loving, and happy families in order to facilitate religion-based discrimination against families with LGBTQ or single parents. Check out our talking points here.
These bills would allow individuals or businesses to withhold healthcare and health insurance from certain patients (most often LGBTQ and women patients) or for certain services and products (most often related to reproductive health). Find out more about this issue on our healthcare page.
These bills would bar colleges and universities from enforcing nondiscrimination policies that apply to student religious clubs. Find out more about this issue on our student groups page.
These bills would allow government employees or taxpayer-funded entities to discriminate against those they hire or serve, or to withhold certain services (such as reproductive care) even if otherwise required by law.