The US Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for December 5 in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—an important case that will have significant implications for religious freedom.
From AU's Wall of Separation blog:
Last Friday, the Trump Administration announced major policy changes that significantly weaken the principle of church-state separation and serve as a blueprint for using religion to discriminate, especially against women and LGBTQ people.
The two new rules that offer organizations and corporations the right to deny women insurance coverage for contraception made the news. Less coverage was given to the Department of Justice’s 25-page guidance titled, “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty.” This guidance contains extreme interpretations of the law in an effort to give a greenlight to religious exemptions, regardless of how an exemption would affect other people or the public interest.
Religious freedom is a fundamental value, but it does not allow religion to be used as an excuse to harm other people.
Here are just a few of the most troubling ways the guidance could be used:
- People and corporations may cite religion as an excuse to ignore nondiscrimination laws that protect women and LGBTQ people.
- Taxpayer-funded organizations can claim a right to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion. They can also use a religious litmus test to decide whom they will serve within the government-funded social service program and which services they will provide, even if it conflicts with the terms of the government grant or contract.
- The government will give religious exemptions to businesses and government employees, even if the result is taking away a right or benefit the law guarantees to someone else.
In other words, the guidance allows taxpayer-funded organizations, corporations, and individuals to use religion as a trump card to almost any law.
This guidance misses the mark: Our laws should be a shield to protect religious freedom and not a sword to harm others. Our country is strongest when we are all free to believe or not, as we see fit, and to practice our faith without hurting others.
Church-State Watchdog Group Says Attorney General Has Misconstrued Existing Law
Religious freedom is about fairness. It means we don’t treat people differently because their beliefs are different from ours. It isn’t fair to deny women access to vital healthcare—a benefit guaranteed by law. Stripping insurance coverage for birth control is nothing more than discrimination.
Religious Freedom Advocate Says Decisions About Women’s Health Care Should Be Made By Women—Not By Their Employer’s Or University’s Religious Beliefs
Yesterday, Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman whose employer used religion as an excuse to fire her because she began dressing consistent with her gender identity, was in a federal appeals court fighting for her rights.
October marks LGBTQ History Month—a month dedicated to celebrating icons of the LGBTQ community. This LGBTQ History Month and every month, Americans United is proud to stand with our LGBTQ neighbors and oppose discrimination in the name of religion.
A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) revealed that at 53 percent, the majority of Americans oppose restricting the rights of the LGBTQ community. An even more promising finding for America’s future: About two-thirds of young adults believe wedding-based businesses should not be allowed to refuse services to same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Religious freedom is about fairness. It’s not fair to the children who will remain in foster care longer when state contractors use religion to reject qualified families who want to provide safe, loving homes.
As we approach the start of a new U.S. Supreme Court term that will include two cases with major church-state separation implications, you can show your support for religious freedom and AU’s work by pledging that “Religious Freedom Is About Fairness.”
The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission this term. The case may have a huge impact on the meaning of religious freedom in the United States.
Today, the House of Representatives will likely vote on an amendment to a large spending bill that would prohibit the District of Columbia from enforcing one of its employment nondiscrimination laws.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice told the Supreme Court that a Colorado bakery has a constitutional right to refuse to sell a cake to a same-sex couple for their wedding. You read that right—the Trump administration thinks there’s a constitutional right to discriminate.
We have a Statement too: Religion should never be used as an excuse to harm others. Americans United's Faith Organizer Bill Mefford explains in today's blog post.
Last year, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover were harassed by a West Virginia county clerk who ranted at them as they applied for a wedding license. The clerk called them an “abomination” and declared her belief that the same-sex couple shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Today, thanks to Amanda and Samantha’s courage to stand up to discrimination, Gilmer County has promised that other same-sex couples won’t face similar harassment that ruins their wedding days.
Church-State Watchdog And Statewide LGBTQ Advocacy Group Welcome Gilmer County Officials’ Promise To Prevent Future Discrimination
Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, when Americans mark the anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. It’s a welcome opportunity to reflect on how far our nation has advanced in the fight for equal rights. And it’s a stark reminder of just how far we have left to go.
A Wyoming judge has asked the US Supreme Court to consider whether she has the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples due to her religious beliefs.