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.
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.
Gavin Grimm didn’t ask to be the face of the fight for transgender civil rights in America. But that’s just what he became when he asked his Virginia high school to recognize his humanity.
Today Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed SB 1324/HB 2025, a combination First Amendment Defense Act and Pastor Protection Act that would have allowed religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ Virginians. In his veto statement, Governor McAuliffe called the bill “unconstitutional” and stated that any bill that privileges one religious belief “equates to discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.”
For the second year in a row, the Virginia General Assembly has sent the Governor “religious freedom” bill that would allow religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate. Religious freedom is a fundamental value. It guarantees us the right to believe—or not—as we see fit. But it does not give anyone the right to discriminate against others.
Last night the Trump administration officially revoked an Obama-era guidance reminding public schools that a provision in a 1972 federal law known as Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
According to new Public Religion Research Institute analysis, a clear majority of religious Americans oppose business owners using their religious beliefs to deny goods and services to LGBTQ individuals and couples. Indeed, religious freedom gives us the freedom to believe— or not— as we see fit. It does not, however, permit anyone to use religion as an excuse to discriminate.
Americans United and allies sent a letter to Virginia's Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology to warn of the real harm that HB 2025, a state combo Pastor Protection Act and First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), could inflict on many Virginians. The bill, as written, could allow individuals, for-profit corporations, and even taxpayer-funded organizations use religious beliefs about marriage as an excuse to discriminate against their neighbors.
Right now, state lawmakers are trying to use religion as an excuse to discriminate, but we're ready to fight back! Our 2017 State Legislation Tracker is your one-stop-shop for news, resources and most importantly, how you can make a difference.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that it will hold a hearing on HR 2802, the deceptively named First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), on July 12. The Committee’s decision to hold this hearing is surprising given the backlash that states have faced when trying to pass and enact their own FADA legislation.
Yesterday we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land. Today we want to remind you that there’s still much work to do.
Over the next two days, we will be reviewing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 2016 state sessions. Today’s post will cover the good— harmful bills that were stopped.
In previous posts on this blog, we've discussed the Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF) involvement in lawsuits against public school districts that allow transgender students to use the single-sex restroom and locker room facilities that match their gender identities. Now the ADF has taken it one step further: helping one Virginia school district establish an anti-transgender bathroom policy of its own.
Last week, we saw bill movement in Missouri, Florida, and Virginia. Find out more about these movements and what to expect this week in Last Week in Review.
Tuesday was “Crossover” in Virginia – the last day for legislation in the commonwealth to move out of one chamber and into the other. We are closely monitoring three bills in the state that would allow discrimination in the name of religion.
This week, Virginia legislators will be hearing two bills that will have the potential to grievously harm all Virginians, especially LGBT Virginians, and their rights to marriage equality.
Virginia’s SB 40 would allow clerks and deputy clerks in the state to refuse to issue marriage licenses “[i]f the clerk or deputy clerk has an objection to the issuance of such license on personal, ethical, moral, or religious grounds.” We all know that the couples most likely to be denied a license by clerks under this bill are same-sex couples.