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.
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.
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.
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?
As bills continue to pick up speed through their respective legislatures, we've decided to add a new feature to our legislative coverage that helps our readers keep track of the previous week's bill movement.
State FADAs keep rolling forward, powered by national conservative and Religious Rights groups.
Clerks Must Issue Marriage Licenses To All Qualified Couples, Church-State Watchdog Says
Government employees who oppose marriage equality because of their religious beliefs are not entitled to refuse service to same-sex couples, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has informed officials in all 50 states today.
From Americans United's Wall of Separation blog:
"[Protect Thy Neighbor] hits the ground running today with its first initiative: AU’s Legal Department is sending a letter to every state attorney general in the country as well as every county clerk in the states of Texas and South Dakota reminding them that they have a legal obligation to give wedding licenses and otherwise provide service to all qualified couples, including those who are of the same sex.
From The Advocate:
The Attorney General of South Dakota has taken the position that “country clerks in his state who oppose marriage equality on religious grounds can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, so long as another clerk in the office will issue the license.” And if every clerk in the county refuses to issue licenses, “the state itself could issue the license.”