- Doug Bandow, Cato Institute
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013-14 Term included two major religion cases, Town of Greece v. Galloway and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In Galloway, the Court held that prayers offered by local clergy at the start of town board meetings did not violate the Establishment Clause. In Hobby Lobby, the Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act required that corporations whose owners object to the HHS contraceptive mandate be exempt from it. The panel will explore, from a range of perspectives, the significance of Hobby Lobby and the religious freedom jurisprudence of the Roberts Court. Among the topics to be considered are the analysis under RFRA of the government’s compelling interest and the narrow tailoring requirements, the interplay between religious exemptions and the Establishment Clause, emerging issues at the intersection of religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws, ongoing challenges to the HHS contraceptive mandate, and the legacy of Hobby Lobby for future First Amendment and religious freedom cases.
The Federalist Society's Religious Liberties Practice Groups presented this panel on "Religious Liberty after Hobby Lobby" on Thursday, November 13, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.
On July 21, 2014 President. Obama issued Executive Order 13672, amending EO 11246 which has been around since 1965. The new EO added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of prohibited bases of employment discrimination by federal contractors. The order applies to all employees of a contractor, not just those working on a federal contract. It also requires the contractor to hold itself out to the public as an equal opportunity employer with respect to these newly protected classes, and to post in conspicuous places notice to employees and job applicants of its nondiscrimination duties.
Some religious organizations are federal contractors. This has long been the practice with respect to international relief efforts, as well as for services to meet the religious needs of those in prison and serving in the armed forces. Religious organizations petitioned the White House for an exemption from these new requirements. Although they did not succeed, they were able to convince President Obama to leave intact a more limited religious exception permitting religious organizations to staff on a religious basis, an exception drawn from Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive national survey of recent cases regarding same-sex marriage laws. The cases span over half the states and are being litigated in both federal and state courts. We hope this paper serves as a useful reference and guide to any questions you may have about the legal landscape of same-sex marriage.....[Read Now!]
A bill to enact the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA") was introduced into the 113th Congress and approved by the Senate by a 64-32 vote. The Act would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees. Non-profit membership clubs and organizations that are solely religious are exempted, but religiously affiliated organizations (such as hospitals and schools) are not.
Proponents and opponents disagree about whether sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is widespread and a serious problem. Proponents point, for example, to a field experiment in which job applications with a fictitious resumé including membership in a gay organization in college received substantially fewer invitations for interviews than did applications with a fictitious resumé identical except for the membership. Opponents note studies showing that gays have average or above-average incomes and conclude that discrimination does not seem to have impaired their earning potential.
There is also disagreement about the impact ENDA would have on people of faith. Proponents note that the religious exemptions of ENDA track those of other federal anti-discrimination laws. Opponents point out that disapproval of homosexual acts is a fundamental tenet of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as of many other faiths, and that ENDA would be the first American federal law to outlaw exercise of a mainstream belief of our major religions.