The drama centered on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which funds the Department of Defense and its military operations, is considered must-pass legislation. Thus, it often attracts amendments that promote socially conservative views on military issues.
On Wednesday, along with some of my Americans United colleagues, I attended a LGBTQ summit hosted by Atlantic magazine’s Atlantic Live. The summit’s title, “Unfinished Business,” betrayed the organizers’ expectations of who would be our next president. What could have been a reflection on progress was instead a reminder of how much is now at stake and how much remains to be done.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said today that it will work vigorously to oppose any attempts by the administration of Donald J. Trump to undermine religious freedom in the United States.
On Sept. 28, members of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, a body that provides oversight of judges in the state, met for some unusual proceedings: The state’s chief justice, Roy S. Moore, was on trial – for the second time.
I opened up my Washington Post yesterday morning – yes, I still read a paper edition – only to see a full-page ad on page A7 headlined, “DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE UPON GOD AND HIS HOLY BIBLE.”
“Oh, this ought to be good,” I thought.
Indeed, the ad didn’t disappoint. It stated that people have certain rights given to them by the Creator and among them “is the right to exercise our Christian beliefs as put forth in God’s Holy Bible.”
Americans United and 91 organizations sent congressional leaders a letter to express strong opposition to a House of Representatives bill provision that would authorize taxpayer-funded discrimination in federal contracts and grants.
“The government should not fund discrimination and no taxpayer should be disqualified from a job under a federal contract or grant because he or she is the ‘wrong’ religion,” the Aug. 25 letter asserted.
A federal court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction on Aug. 21 blocking the Obama administration’s new anti-discrimination guidance for federally funded schools .
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s action suspends the guidance, which was issued in May by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. The rules would have prevented public schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual identity; it was fueled in part by the push to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender orientation.
A Mississippi law that purported to defend “religious freedom” by allowing state officials and others to discriminate against LGBT residents was scheduled to go into effect today. That won’t be happening, thanks to a federal court ruling.
U.S. Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) on May 18 introduced legislation that would counteract some of the harmful effects of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and restore it to its original intent.
The “Do No Harm Act,” (H.R. 5272) would preserve RFRA’s power to protect religious liberty but also clarify that it may not be used to harm others.