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Your Rights
Religious Discrimination: State Law

Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993. Under the RFRA, if the Federal government passes a general law that imposes a burden on anyone's exercise of religion, the law must meet a strict scrutiny analysis where 1) the new law must act to serve a "compelling interest" and 2) the government must use the least restrictive means to achieve that compelling interest.

State RFRAs have been in the news, after Indiana received backlash for passing its' religious freedom law. In practice, some state's RFRAs have become a way for lawmakers to discriminate based on sexual orientation by using religion as an excuse to challenge or opt out of state and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. For more information on this type of discrimination, please see our page on sexual orientation. The following states have adopted RFRA laws made by a legislative statute or sometimes through a court decision.

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Connecticut
Florida
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
Wisconsin

Alabama

The Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment recognizes the free exercise of religion as an unalienable right. The government is prohibited from burdening religious exercise without compelling justification.

Arizona

Arizona Free Exercise of Religion Act recognizes that free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies even if laws, rules, or other actions are facially neutral. The government may not burden someone’s exercise of religion without the compelling justification.

Arkansas

The intent of the General Assembly of Arkansas was to make the Arkansas Religious Freedom and Restoration Act consistent with the 1993 RFRA.

Connecticut

The Connecticut Statute states that the state or any political subdivision of the state shall not burden a person’s exercise of religions with out compelling justification.

Florida

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998 prohibits the substantial burden of a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from rule of general applicability, without compelling justification.

Idaho

The General Code Provisions of the Idaho statute recognizes free exercise of religion as a fundamental right that should not be substantially burdened without compelling government interest.

Illinois

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act recognizes free exercise of religion as an inherent, fundamental, and inalienable right that should not be substantially burdened without compelling justification.

Indiana

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of Indiana prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Kansas

The Exercise of Religion statute in Kansas prohibits the government shall not substantially burden a person’s civil right to free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Kentucky

In the Kentucky code the government shall not substantially burden freedom of religion. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by sincerely held religious belief may be burdened only if the government proves a compelling interest.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Preservation of Religious Freedom Act prohibits the government from substantially burdening free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Mississippi

The Mississippi Religious Freedom and Restoration Act is consistent with The RFRA of 1993.

Missouri

The Missouri Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits the government from restricting a person’s free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits government agencies from restricting a person’s free exercise of religion with compelling justification.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act is consistent with the RFRA of 1993.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Restoration Act is consistent with the RFRA of 1993.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits a government authority from restricting a person’s free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Freedom Act is consistent with the RFRA of 1993.

Tennessee

The Preservation of Religious Freedom Act of Tennessee prohibits the substantial burden of a person’s free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Texas

The Religious Freedom Act of Texas prohibits a government agency from substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Virginia

The Religious Freedom Act prohibits any government entity from substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion without compelling justification.

Wisconsin

Similar RFRA protections are found within the Wisconsin Constitution in the “right of conscience” provisions. The Wisconsin Constitution prohibits the infringement on the right of every person to worship God […] and prohibits any control or interference with, the rights of conscience […].

 

 




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