Religious freedom is a fundamental value, but it does not permit government-funded providers to discriminate against the children and families they are supposed to serve.
June is Pride month, and over the weekend Washington, DC’s annual Capital Pride festival took place. Americans United was well represented.
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 for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment over a US Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado bakery that sought to discriminate against LGBTQ people on the basis of religious beliefs. But the organization said it was relieved that the narrow ruling does not create sweeping new rights to discriminate.
Federal courts delivered welcome opinions last week that protect the rights and dignity of transgender students in two cases—and Americans United has been involved in both.
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.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, joined by 12 religious and civil-rights organizations, late yesterday urged a federal appeals court to affirm a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s new rules that would allow employers and universities to cite religious or moral objections as justification to deny employees and students insurance coverage for contraceptives.
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.
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 Gov. Mary Fallin this evening signed into law Senate Bill 1140, giving taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies a green light to use religion to deny children loving homes and to discriminate against prospective parents.
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.
State legislatures in both Kansas and Oklahoma passed bills last Thursday (Senate Bill 284 in Kansas and Senate Bill 1140 in Oklahoma) that would allow state-funded child-placing agencies to use religion to justify denying children homes and discriminating against prospective parents.