Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Has Signed Two Bills That Undermine Religious Freedom

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.

In the Last Moments Of Their Legislative Sessions, Kansas And Oklahoma Put Religious Discrimination Ahead Of Kids

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.

Kansas' Child-Welfare System Is In Crisis, But Legislators Are Making It Even Harder For Kids To Find Homes

In Kansas, dozens of foster children are spending their nights not in warm beds in safe homes, but on couches and cots in child welfare offices run by state contractors. These children need loving foster and adoptive families to provide the care they need. Yet, in spite of this crisis, Kansas legislators are trying to make it harder for these children to find families who can give them warm, safe beds.

State Legislatures Are Considering More Bills Than Ever to Allow College Student Groups to Use Religion to Discriminate

It’s February, and that means students across the country are back on college and university campuses for a new semester.  One of the highlights of campus life is joining student groups. But in some states, students at public universities could be denied the opportunity to participate in a student club because of who they are.

ACA Non-Discrimination Regulations Under Attack By Providers Seeking Religious Exemption

Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire details the assault on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, a non-discrimination provision that protects against denial of healthcare services based on sex. 

New Lawsuit Claims Healthcare Professionals Should Have Religious Exemptions When Caring For Transgender Individuals

Texas and four other states filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday, claiming that healthcare professionals should be able to deny transgender individuals necessary medical care if it violates their religious beliefs. This is the second lawsuit brought by Texas that directly attacks the rights of the transgender community.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of The 2016 State Sessions, Part 2: The Bad And The Ugly

In part 1, we recapped the good— the harmful bills that were stopped. In today’s post, we cover the bad and the ugly of the 2016 state legislative sessions. 

Campus Crusade For Bias?: How Religious Demands For Exemptions Harm Higher Education

A small but growing number of Americans have been inching ever closer to the principle that even in a secular democratic society, their religious beliefs should exempt them from modern laws. 

Last Week In Review: March 21–25

Because many state legislative sessions have ended (Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming), we can report that 13 of the so-called religious liberty bills we have been tracking are officially dead. Here is some of the big state legislative news that occurred last week and what we expect to see moving this week.

Faith-Based College Groups Can Now Discriminate In Kansas

According to The Kansas City Star, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law SB 175, a bill that would allow faith-based groups at universities to restrict membership to only like-minded people. This means that school tuition dollars could go to groups that deny membership to minority students, such as those in the LGBT community.

Kansas Anti-Discrimination Bill Moves To Hearing

Amidst the rumblings of bills that would restrict LGBT rights in Georgia and Indiana, there's a flicker of light coming from an unexpected state: Kansas.

Kansas Legislator Is Adamant That Same-Sex Couples Should Not Be Foster Parents

Kansas state Senator Forrest Knox has a history of trying to pass homophobic foster care restrictions in his state. His reply when faced with the backlash? That he was only thinking of the children. 

Opponents Of Same-Sex Parenting Twist Science To Agree With Ideology

A Los Angeles Times op-ed tackles why opponents of same-sex parents need erroneous research to push their agenda. Unsurprisingly, for some people ideology comes before the well-being of children.

Brownback Order Infringes On Personal Freedom And Fosters Discrimination

From an Americans United press statement:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback today issued executive order 15-05, which purports to prohibit the state from discriminating against religious organizations that hold “the belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” What the order really does is sanction government-funded discrimination, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.