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ACT NOW: Tell Your State Senator: Oppose SB 2158 and Protect Civil Rights in Minnesota!

MN Action Alert

SB 2158 would open the door to discrimination.

Protect Civil Rights in Minnesota.

Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on SB 2158!

The Minnesota Senate recently introduced SB 2158, a bill that purports to protect “freedom of conscience,” but actually threatens the civil rights of Minnesotans. It opens the door to individuals, small businesses, and government employees to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against others.

This bill would allow religious entities, for-profit small businesses, and government employees to refuse to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for any purpose related to the solemnization, formation, or celebration of any marriage that is not between one man and one woman.

SB 2158 is designed to also allow businesses like florists, bakers, or photographers to refuse to provide their services for weddings to which they have personal religious objections. As a result, this bill could trump existing state and local non-discrimination laws prohibiting discrimination against same-sex individuals. This kind of discrimination is the very reason Indiana received enormous backlash when it initially passed its “religious freedom bill” that would have allowed religion to be used as an excuse to discriminate. Make sure Minnesota doesn’t receive that same criticism.

Not only that, but SB 2158 could provide a blanket exemption for all government employees to refuse to perform or issue marriage licenses in the name of religion. Government employees are paid by the taxpayer and should serve all people equally and fairly. Instead, this bill would allow government employees to treat some couples differently and discriminatorily.

Act now: Please contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee here and tell them:

“Please oppose SB 2158. This bill would allow discrimination against Minnesotans by allowing anyone, including small businesses and government employees, to refuse to participate or provide services in a marriage ceremony or celebration under the guise of religious freedom.  Vote NO on SB 2158 and protect civil rights and religious freedom in Minnesota!”

Some thoughts from inside the Supreme Court today

From AU’s Rob Boston, who was inside the Supreme Court listening to today’s arguments on same-sex marriage.

See his comments here.

The audio from today’s proceedings has already been published and is available here in two parts.

Happy Birthday to Thomas Jefferson!

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One of the first defenders of separation of church and state, you can help support his ideals by contributing to AU today, by clicking right here.

If you would like to learn more about where Jefferson’s perspectives on separation issues and deism came from, a great resource is “Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic” by Matthew Stewart.

Happy birthday to one of our favorite founding fathers!

Breakfast Club: Obama Endorses Separation At Evangelical Event | Americans United

Very good quote from the President: he gets it!

“Our government does not sponsor a religion, nor does it pressure anyone to practice a particular faith, or any faith at all. And the result is a culture where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can freely and proudly worship, without fear, or coercion….”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

via Breakfast Club: Obama Endorses Separation At Evangelical Event | Americans United.

SCotUS makes the right call in AK case

It’s always nice to see appropriate allowances being made for people to celebrate their religious faith, when it doesn’t affect anyone else’s liberty and rights to celebrate their own (or their lack thereof).  As Justice Ginsburg noted:

“Unlike the exemption this Court approved in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., accommodating petitioner’s religious belief in this case would not detrimentally affect others who do not share petitioner’s belief”

Considering that prisons in 40 other states allow for inmates to have beards, and with arguments like “the inmate could smuggle contraband or weapons in his beard” (when there are no laws saying that inmates must shave their heads), it’s surprising the case actually made it as far as it did.

Florida school board learns what “freedom of religion” really means, doesn’t like it

When faced with a lawsuit over their refusal to allow non-Christian groups to distribute material alongside those who were distributing Bibles, a Florida school board finally relented and said others could hand out their books and pamphlets as well.  But when they finally realized what that meant, and that religious groups they didn’t like (including the Satanists) would have similar access to children as their preferred ones, they decided to cancel the event completely.

You have to either allow no groups at all to distribute their materials, or allow all of them: anything else become Constitutionally problematic. But situations like this expose the hypocrisy behind those who claim religious freedom to defend their actions, but then immediately back down when it becomes clear theirs may not be the only religion represented.

Reason magazine: mixing religion and the law is a bad idea

A reasonable article from Reason magazine on why mixing religion with public policy is not the right thing to do:

No, it’s not time to “turn back to God,” especially when it comes to politics and public policy. What ails the government is not a deficit of religiosity but a nearly complete failure to deal with practical issues of spending versus revenue, creating a simple and fair tax system, reforming entitlements, and getting real about the limits of America’s ability to control every corner of the globe. God has nothing to do with any of that. The fault lies not in our stars but in policies.

Gov. Bobby Jindal Says “We have tried everything and now it is time to turn back to God.” No it’s not. – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

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