Religious Liberty

True Religious Liberty Does Not Promote Discrimination

02.28.14

There is a lot of buzz across the nation about legislation intended to protect religious freedom. Ohio House Bill 376, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), was similar to legislation proposed in Arizona, Kansas, and Mississippi. They are all of the same mold – actually meant to legalize discrimination, and share the same potential consequences.  Following a media frenzy around the Arizona bill, Ohio’s RFRA was indefinitely postponed.  For more information on the Ohio bill, read our RFRA fact sheet.

The Ohio RFRA would have substantially expanded opportunities for individuals to file a lawsuit if they felt that their religious liberty was burdened, even in the slightest way.  For example, someone could have  brought a lawsuit if they received a parking ticket during a worship service, or an employee could have refused to fill a birth control prescription if their religion condemns birth control.

The introduction of H.B. 376 and similar RFRA legislation in other states is not necessary to protect individual religious liberty, because the Bill of Rights has been doing that since the founding of our country.

The ACLU has worked for decades to protect true religious liberty. We have fought too hard for too long to allow individuals, for any reason, to be given a free pass to violate the basic civil rights of others and ignore the laws they do not wish to follow. 

True religious liberty is the freedom to practice your faith without government interference, not the right to impose your beliefs on someone else and harm them if they do not conform.