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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 16, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 03
ACLU legislative update on anti-Gay religious exemption bills
Section One
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ACLU legislative update on anti-Gay religious exemption bills

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

With the 2015 legislative session in swing, Crystal Cooper, media strategist for ACLU, reached out to Seattle Gay News to help keep our readers abreast of discriminatory bills that the ACLU Out4Freedom Campaign is tracking.

These anti-Gay bills would allow religion to be used to discriminate and are either intentionally aimed at LGBT people or are spurred in backlash to marriage equality becoming a nationwide reality. In addition, these bills include state versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), marriage license ban bills, broad religious exemption bills and more.

Texas
Marriage License Ban [Legislative session began Jan. 13]

Bill language: A state or local government employee may not officially recognize, grant, or enforce same-sex marriage. If an employee does so, they may no longer receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of State taxpayers.

Taxes or public funds may not use to enforce a court order requiring issuance or recognition of same-sex marriage licenses.

South Carolina
Marriage License Ban [Legislative session began Jan. 13]

Bill language: No state/local taxpayer funds or government salaries may be paid for an activity that includes licensing or support of same-sex marriage. No government employee officially shall recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license. If employee does, they must not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of the State. No taxes/public funds may be utilized to enforce a court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.

Virginia
Broad Licensing [PRE-FILED, introduced Dec. 19; legislative session began Jan. 14]

Bill language: A person seeking to obtain or renew a license, registration, or certificate from the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, or any agency, authority, board, department, or other entity thereof, shall not be required to perform, assist, consent to, or participate in any action or refrain from performing, assisting, consenting to, or participating in any action as a condition of obtaining or renewing the license, registration, or certificate where such condition would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex 'marriage' or homosexual behavior.

Utah
Marriage License Refusal [PRE-FILED, introduced on Dec. 19]

Bill language: A person authorized to solemnize a marriage is not required to do so if it would violate the person's sincerely held religious beliefs, tenets, doctrine, practices, or the person's fundamental right to religious liberty.

Georgia
Religious Freedom Restoration Act [Senate meetings on bill began Jan. 14]

Would allow someone to challenge any governmental policy or law that substantially burdens their religious beliefs.

ACLU attorneys Rose Saxe and Eunice Rho, and experts from ACLU state affiliates, provided the information about these bills and have promised regular updates as these measures continue to undermine equality for everyone under the law.

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