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Miss. Adopts Sweeping Discrimination Measure

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a broadly worded bill into law in April that allows government employees, corporations, individuals, healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against same-sex couples, single mothers, divorcees and anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.

According to National Public Radio, Bryant claimed on Twitter that he signed the bill, H.B. 1523, “to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions...from discriminatory action by state government.”

New Birth Control Case Argued Before U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court in March heard oral arguments in a case that will determine whether religiously affiliated non-profits have the right to deny women employees access to birth control on the basis of the groups’ theological beliefs.

The March 23 argument lasted 90 minutes and was marked by spirited exchanges and sharp questioning from the justices. A clear division emerged from the court’s liberal and conservative wings, leading some analysts to speculate that the high court may split 4-4.

Colo. Supreme Court Correct To Refuse To Hear Baker’s Lawsuit

Cake Shop Owner Had No Constitutional Right To Deny Services To LGBT Residents, Church-State Watchdog Says

The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional rights of same-sex couples by refusing to hear a religious-freedom challenge to a state anti-discrimination ordinance, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

Americans United had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. This action is part of Americans United’s Protect Thy Neighbor project, which seeks to stop religion-based discrimination against LGBT persons and others.

Finding Their Voices

In the ongoing dispute over access to birth control, one thing has often been missing: the voices of women who stand to lose the most if contraceptives become harder to get.

Americans United is working to change that.

W.Va. Same-Sex Couple Criticized And Preached To By Clerk

Two women who applied for a marriage license in Gilmer County, W.Va., were verbally abused by a deputy clerk, who then proceed to preach to them.

Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich in February sought a marriage license at the Gilmer County Courthouse. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that Debbie Allen, a deputy clerk who processed their license, told the couple that she did not agree with their marriage and allegedly called their actions “an abom­ination” during a rant that lasted two to three minutes.

Americans United Hails Georgia Governor’s Veto Of HB 757, A So-Called ‘Religious Freedom Bill’

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Deal Was Right To Reject Measure Designed To Foster Discrimination Against LGBT Residents

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today applauded Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a “religious freedom bill” that would have sanctioned discrimination in Georgia.
 
“We thank the governor for his veto,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Discrimination has no place in Georgia or any other state.” 
 
The bill, H.B. 757, purported to preserve religious freedom, but Lynn noted that the First Amendment to the U.S.

Young AU Activists Give Their Time to Many Organizations

Amanda Scott is a member of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Youth Advisory Council, and like many young activists, she volunteers with multiple organizations.

Amanda’s work as a Planned Parenthood clinic escort coalesces with her work at Americans United. Both organizations are working to protect women’s access to healthcare from the Religious Right’s many attempts to dismantle it.

States of Rebellion

Think of a bill, and the people who pass it, and you likely imagine the U.S. Con­gress. Our federal legislative body occupies significant media space and not without reason; it wields significant influence. It can respond to executive and judicial actions and shapes our political future.

But state legislatures are arguably as important as their federal equivalent. Many are also dominated by a conservative wing of the Republican Party that frequently promotes the Religious Right’s priorities. That’s reflected by a spate of recent legislation.

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