ACLU Statement on Reintroduction of Do No Harm Act
WASHINGTON — Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), with the full support of the American Civil Liberties Union, reintroduced the Do No Harm Act in Congress today to ensure that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) continues to protect religious freedom without being used to discriminate against women, the LGBT community, and others.
“Religious freedom does not give anyone the right to discriminate. Numerous cases have shown that RFRA as written can lead to unacceptable civil rights violations,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “President Trump’s religious liberty executive order signed on May 4 lays the groundwork for RFRA to be further misused as a license to discriminate. It’s now more important than ever to pass the Do No Harm Act to prevent discrimination under the guise of religious liberty.”
In August 2016, a federal district court ruled that RFRA exempts a religiously affiliated funeral home from sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after it fired a transgender employee.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that under RFRA, employers could refuse contraceptive coverage to their female employees based on the employers’ religious beliefs.
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The ACLU strives to safeguard the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by ensuring that laws and governmental practices neither promote religion nor interfere with its free exercise.