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Equality Act: Equality The Right Way

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) today introduced the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. It builds on our nation’s tradition of expanding civil-rights protections to ensure that more of our neighbors are protected from discrimination based on who they are.

AU And Allies: Michigan Funeral Home Can’t Use Religion To Justify Discrimination Against Transgender Employee

Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.

Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.

Americans United And Allies File Legal Brief In Support Of Transgender Woman Fired By Michigan Funeral Home

Religious-Liberty Organizations And Faith Leaders Argue Business Owner Can’t Cite Religious Beliefs To Justify Discrimination

Americans United for Separation of Church and State was joined by 76 faith leaders and 13 religious and civil-rights organizations in urging a federal appeals court to rule that a Michigan funeral home had violated a transgender employee’s civil rights when it fired her for wearing women’s clothing in accordance with her gender identity.

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings Don’t Allay AU’s Concerns

Yesterday concluded the four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for President Donald J. Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

As we’ve written before, Gorsuch’s history as a federal appeals court judge indicates that he does not support true religious freedom. His performance during the hearings did nothing to allay our concerns.

Standing Firm

To Native Americans, land can have a religiously sacred meaning. But despite their many years of using land for religious ceremonies, Native Americans’ access to it has often been tossed aside when the government has other goals in mind.

Indiana Man’s Religious Freedom Tax Argument Fails

An Indiana man is attempting to use the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to defend himself in a tax evasion case against him – so far without success.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Rodney Tyms-Bey is arguing that RFRA protects him from paying state taxes and burdens him from exercising his religion freely. He owes Indiana $1,042.82.

Most Small Business Owners In Colo. Oppose Laws That Use Religion To Trump LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections, New Poll Shows

In this tense political climate, bad news sometimes overshadows the good news, and today’s news is good. 
 
A new opinion poll released yesterday by the Small Business Majority reveals that “65% of Colorado small business owners believe business owners should not be allowed to deny services to LGBT individuals based on the owner’s religious beliefs.”
 

Ind. Woman Can’t Use Religious Freedom Defense In Child Abuse Case

An Indiana court has rejected a woman’s claim that she has a “religious freedom” right to abuse her son.

Kin Park Thaing, 30, was sentenced in October to one year of probation for hitting her 7-year-old son repeatedly with a coat hanger. Thaing was prosecuted thanks to a teacher who spotted dozens of bruises on the child’s body.

A prosecutor in Marion County said Thaing’s case tested the bounds of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which became law in 2015 and states that government cannot place any undue burden on religious practice without good reason.

Polygamous Mormons Lose Round In Food Stamp Fraud Case

In all of the reaction over the election, it’s easy to overlook other stories of interest, some of which are actually good news.

Consider this one: A federal judge has ruled that there’s likely no “religious freedom” right to defraud a federal program designed to help low-income families avoid hunger.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Marine’s Religious Freedom Rights Were Not Violated

A federal court that deals with military issues has rejected a former U.S. Marine’s claims that she was persecuted because of her religious beliefs.

Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling received a bad-conduct discharge from the Marine Corps in 2014 after a court-martial found she had repeatedly violated orders. According to her superiors, she neglected to report for duty and failed to wear the required uniform. She also posted three signs reading “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” at her official workstation, and she twice refused to take them down.

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