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Going On The Offense Over Defense

The 2016 presidential election dominated the headlines for months. But even as that struggle played out, a political showdown was taking place in the U.S. Congress that could end with religious discrimination being enshrined in our nation’s laws.

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.

A Reflection on Atlantic Live’s LGBTQ Summit: Why Religious Liberty and LGBTQ Rights Are Not at Odds

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.

No Moore Embarrassment

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.

These Fundamentalists Are Not Going To Tolerate Legal Abortion And Marriage Equality. So There.

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.”

AU Opposes Religious Discrimination In Federal Grants

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.

Federal Court Blocks Trans Rights Directive

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. 

Discrimination Defeated!: A Miss. Law That Used ‘Religious Freedom’ To Undermine Rights Is Struck Down

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.

Members Of Congress Introduce Legislation To Restore Federal Religious Freedom Law

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.

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