AU monitoring state 'religious freedom' bills that threaten rights.


Americans United is monitoring a host of state-level legislation that, if passed, would permit individuals and private corporations to discriminate in the name of religion.

These bills are greatly expanded state versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 federal law that is intended to protect religious minorities. Americans United opposes these new RFRA bills because they could offer exemptions from all sorts of laws intended to protect things like civil rights, public safety and healthcare.

Recently, serious opposition arose in several states to RFRA bills that are under consideration. In South Dakota, this was enough to kill the bill entirely--thanks to activists who pointed out the measure's potentially harmful consequences.

In Arkansas, the politically influential Walmart corporation decided to lobby against a RFRA bill known as the "Conscience Protection Act." Although a Walmart spokesman said the bill would not specifically change the way the company runs its business (the corporation's non-discrimination policy already protects LGBT employees), the bill is "counter to our core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about...

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