Protect Thy Neighbor is monitoring and fighting bills across the country that would allow individuals, businesses, and government employees to harm others in the name of religion. The most common bills would allow discrimination against LGBT Americans and deny access to reproductive healthcare, but these bills have other negative and far reaching consequences as well.  You can learn more about the bills that have been introduced in your state below. This bill tracker is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

 To find out what happened last year, go to our tracker for 2015 »

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACTS

These bills would create or expand a state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRAs authorize religious exemptions to each and every state law on the books. If any state law or policy is deemed to place a “substantial burden” on the religious beliefs of a person (and often even a for-profit corporation), the state must show that it has a “compelling interest” and that the law is “narrowly tailored” to fulfilling that interest. Although RFRAs were originally intended to protect genuine religious freedom, many states are now adopting RFRAs in order to override nondiscrimination laws and deny women reproductive healthcare. For more on RFRA, including talking points on why states shouldn't adopt Indiana-like RFRAs -or- replicate the federal RFRA, please check out our RFRA page.

 

MARRIAGE

These bills would allow or even require government employees, for-profit business, or government contractors and grantees to discriminate against same-sex couples who are married or seeking to marry. Find out more about this issue on our marriage page.

Government-Employee: These bills would allow government employees and officials to withhold marriage licenses, refuse to solemnize weddings, or otherwise block recognition of some or all marriages. Check out our talking points here.
 

First Amendment Defense Acts: Also known as FADAs, these are based on a federal bill that would allow private businesses, federal contractors and grantees, and even government employees to discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried couples, people who have remarried, single mothers, those who have had sex outside of marriage, and others. Some state bills are narrower or broader than the federal FADA; however, all of these bills seek to sanction discrimination, allowing individuals and entities to ignore laws that conflict with their religious beliefs about marriage.  Check out our FADA talking points here.

 

Wedding-Services: These bills would allow private businesses and individuals to refuse to provide wedding services or products to same-sex couples or other couples.

Penalties for Recognizing Marriage: These bills would require firing of or pay cuts for government officials and employees who follow the Constitution and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

Pastor Protection Acts: Generally, these bills prohibit the state from requiring clergy and religious institutions to perform marriages for same-sex or other couples if such marriages conflict with their religious beliefs. Some Pastor Protection Acts, however, are more expansive and would also allow commercial entities owned or run by religious organizations to refuse to provide any wedding related services to couples whose marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs. See more about clergy and marriage equality here.