Religious Liberty  Press Interview  Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom Restoration Act sees revival of state support

ATLANTA (BP) – Iowa and Utah are the latest states to pass legislation protecting religious freedom from governmental intrusion, with related legislation active in Georgia and four other states.

Iowa and Utah passed state versions of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) Feb. 29 and Feb. 22, respectively, according to the states’ legislative tracking sites, setting high legal scrutiny for any state or local governmental measure that restricts religious freedom, and giving alleged victims the right to sue.

Georgia’s Senate passed a similar bill Feb. 29, barely meeting the calendar deadline for the Senate to send legislation to the House. In Nebraska, the Freedom First Act introduced in 2023 was carried over to the 2024 session. Bills are active in Illinois, Missouri and Rhode Island to strengthen or amend RFRA laws already in place in those states, according to the legislative tracking site Bill Track 50.

Hannah Daniel, director of public policy for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), applauded the legislation that mirrors the 1993 RFRA, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 only applies to federal legislation.

At a time where many of our deepest held beliefs are viewed as intolerant or unpopular, these bills provide vital protections to people of faith living out those convictions in the public square.

Hannah Daniel

“The ERLC highlighted several of these efforts in our first ever State Policy Agenda, and we encourage more states to follow this model”, Daniel said.

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

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