The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) does not give rights to anyone. It merely states the government cannot substantially burden a person’s constitutional right to religious freedom unless it has a compelling interest and uses the least restrictive means to support that interest.
RFRA is not partisan. The federal version of the bill was introduced in 1993 by then-Representative Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and supported by all representatives of both parties in the House. In the Senate, it passed with only three senators voting against the bill — two Democrats and a Republican. It was signed by liberal Democrat President Bill Clinton.
State RFRAs are needed because the federal law does not apply to the states. In City of Boerne v. Flores in 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the “compelling interest test” in the federal RFRA applied only to federal laws and that Congress could not require states to use this test in their religious freedom cases.
State RFRAs are needed because religious liberty is under assault. From florists to photographers to fire chiefs to navy chaplains to businesses to colleges to religious organizations, etc., religious liberty must be protected not only for churches and pastors (which seems to be the left’s response to every objection) but for every American. First Amendment protections are in no way limited to religious organizations and/or a seminary degree.
20 States have RFRA-like laws and have seen no explosion of discrimination cases.
Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
State RFRAs are good because they protect our first freedom.
The first freedom guaranteed by our beloved Bill of Rights is religious freedom. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” A state RFRA is in complete harmony with this important ideal, ensuring that the correct standard of proof is used when dealing with government intrusion on this important area of our freedom and liberty.