Today is #GivingTuesday, an international day of philanthropy that kicks off the charitable season. Thanks to generous gifts from our supporters on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year, Americans United has been able to continue to fight against attacks on religious freedom.
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.
This post was written by Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich of West Virginia, the two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit Americans United and our allies filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Just months after the West Virginia Senate voted down the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill, Mountain State lawmakers are talking about resurrecting it in the next legislative session.
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.
As we enter a new week, here's a reminder of all of the bills that moved during the week of February 29–March 4.
We at Protect Thy Neighbor have been following the progress of West Virginia’s RFRA bill, HB 4012, closely since its introduction in January. Now, we’re pleased to report that the Senate voted down this harmful bill last night by a vote of 27-7.
Last night the West Virginia Senate debated what amendments they would add to HB 4012, their Religious Freedom Restoration Act bill. The bill purports to protect religious freedom, but creates the real threat that it will be used to trump nondiscrimination laws, especially those for LGBT West Virginians. In fact, many pushing the bill support it because it they hope it will allow them to ignore nondiscrimination laws. The bill passed the House and Senate committee with failed attempts to fix this problem.
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.
In the face of the RFRA bill before the Senate, West Virginia business owners are showing support for their LGBT neighbors.
Americans United sent a letter to Gilmer County commissioners and County Clerk Jean Butcher stating that Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen violated the constitutional rights of a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license. The deputy clerk had referred to their marriage as "an abomination" and told them that they would be judged by God.
Church-State Watchdog Group Says Gilmer County Deputy Clerk Has No Right To Disparage or Preach To Couples
Despite yesterday's vote in the West Virginia's House of Delegates on a RFRA bill that would negatively affect municipalities with anti-discrimination ordinances, Martinsburg City Council decided to pass an ordinance anyway.
Debbie Allen, a deputy country clerk for West Virginia's Gilmer County, did her job last week– she granted a same-sex couple a marriage license. Unfortunately, she also heaped a pile of abuse on the newlyweds. Allen may soon have the freedom to do even more harm if the state's RFRA bill passes.
Today, the West Virginia House is debating HB 4012, a RFRA bill. As with many other state RFRA bills we seen in the wake of Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court’s marriage quality decision, HB 4012 could allow individuals, and even for-profit corporations, to discriminate, deny women healthcare, and otherwise harm others in the name of religion.
This morning, starting at 9:30 am, the West Virginia House will hold a public hearing on House Bill 4012, the “West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” West Virginians will be gathering in the House chamber to voice their opinions on this bill. We have some opinions about this bill, too, and it should come as no surprise by now, that we strongly oppose this bill.