Past Anti-LGBT Religious Exemption Legislation Across the Country

There are bills in state legislature across the country and in Congress that could allow religion to be used to discriminate against gay and transgender people in virtually all aspects of their lives. Whether a gay person wants to join a college student group, a transgender person seeks counseling services, or a lesbian couple tries to obtain a marriage license from a government employee or access basic medical care at some point in their lives, these 2016 bills would have opened the door to unequal treatment.

Learn More about Religious Exemptions and the use of religion to discriminate

VIEW LGBT NONDISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-LGBT BILLS FROM THE 2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS

VIEW LGBT NONDISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-LGBT BILLS PENDING FOR THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS 

Click on the links below to learn more about the kinds of previously introduced bills and their implications. 

Years: 

2016

Types of bills:

Religious Freedom Restoration Acts

Make it easier for people to demand exemptions to generally applicable laws, by allowing lawsuits challenging any governmental policy, such as nondiscrimination laws, that someone says substantially burden their religious beliefs. The government must prove that enforcing the policy is the least restrictive way of furthering a compelling governmental interest.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

CO   HB 1180   5/11/2016: Dead
GA   HB 29   3/24/2016: Dead
GA   HB 218   3/24/2016: Dead
GA   SB 129   3/24/2016: Dead
HI   HB 1160   5/5/2016: Dead
IN   SB 66   3/14/2016: Dead
IA   HF 2032   4/29/2016: Dead
IA   HF 2200   4/29/2016: Dead
IA   SF 2171   4/29/2016: Dead
ME   LD 1340   4/20/2016: Dead
MI   SB 4   12/31/2016: Dead
MS   SB 2093   4/24/2016: Dead
MS   SB 2822   4/24/2016: Dead
NC    HB 348/SB 550   7/1/2016: Dead
NM   HB 55   2/18/2016: Dead
OK   HB 1371   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 440   5/27/2016: Dead
OK    SB 723   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 898   5/27/2016: Dead
WV   HB 2508   3/15/2016: Dead
WV   HB 4012   3/15/2016: Dead
WV   SB 11   3/15/2016: Dead

Marriage-related Religious Exemption Laws

These bills allow different kinds of religiously based exemptions regarding marriage.  Some of these bills apply to religious organizations, while others apply solely to commercial entities or government officials.  While there are often variations in the individual bills, general descriptions are provided below. Some bills explicitly target same sex couples, and others would allow an exemption to act as to any marriage.

a. First Amendment Defense Acts

Allow anyone - including government employees, contractors, and for profit businesses – to act with impunity based on a religious or moral belief objection to marriage for same-sex couples, or to sexual relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage.  This would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination.  For example, government employees, government contractors or grantees – including those providing important social services services like homeless shelters or drug treatment programs -- could discriminate against married same-sex couples and their families, single mothers, or anyone who has a sexual relationship outside of a marriage.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

GA   HB 757   3/28/2016: Vetoed by Governor
GA   SB 284   3/24/2016: Dead
HI   HB 2532   5/5/2016: Dead
IL   SB 2164   5/31/2016: Dead
OK   SB 440   5/27/2016: Dead
WA   HB 2631   3/29/2016: Dead
WY   HB 98   2/11/2016: Dead

b. Government Employees

Allow certain people authorized by the state, including magistrates, judges, and /or clerks, to refuse to perform marriages and/or issue marriage licenses.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

FL   HB 401   3/11/2016: Dead
KY   HB 17   4/15/2016: Dead
KY   HB 14   4/15/2016: Dead
MN   SF 2158   5/23/2016: Dead
MS   HB 586   4/24/2016: Dead
MS   HB 1342   4/24/2016: Dead
SC   SB 116   6/15/2016: Dead
VA   SB 40   3/11/2016: Dead

c. Commercial Wedding Services

Allow businesses open to the public and individuals associated with such businesses to refuse to provide goods and services relating to marriage.  Some of these bills are limited to allowing discrimination only against same-sex couples, while others would authorize discrimination against any kind of marriage to which a business owner might object.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

FL   HB 401      3/11/2016: Dead
GA   HB 756   3/24/2016: Dead
KY   SB 180   4/15/2016: Dead
MI   HB 4855   12/31/2016: Dead
MN   SF 2158   5/23/2016: Dead
MO   HJR 97/SJR 39   4/27/2016: Dead
NM   HB 55   2/18/2016: Dead
OH   HB 296   12/31/2016: Dead

d. Pastor Protection Acts

Allow clergy, churches, and other religious organizations to refuse to perform marriages or provide wedding-related services to marriages to which they have religious objections.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

AK   HB 236/SB 120   6/19/2016: Dead
CO   HB 1123   5/11/2016: Dead
FL   HB 43/SB 110   3/10/2016: Became Law
GA   HB 757   3/28/2016: Vetoed by Governor
KY   HB 17   4/15/2016: Dead
KY   HB 28   4/15/2016: Dead
LA   HB 597   6/23/2016: Dead
MD   HB 16   4/11/2016: Dead
MI   HB 4732   12/31/2016: Dead
MI   HB 4855   12/31/2016: Dead
MI   HB 4858   12/31/2016: Dead
MN   SF 2158   5/23/2016: Dead
MO   HJR 97/SJR 39   4/27/2016: Dead
MO   HB 2000   5/13/2016: Dead
MO   HB 2040   5/13/2016: Dead
MO   HB 2730   5/13/2016: Dead
MS   HB 587   4/24/2016: Dead
MS   HB 737   4/24/2016: Dead
NJ   AB 1706   12/31/2016: Dead
OH   HB 286   12/31/2016: Dead
OK   HB 1371   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 811   5/27/2016: Dead
SC   H 4446   6/15/2016: Dead
SC   H 4508   6/15/2016: Dead
TN   HB 2375/SB 2329   4/22/2016: Dead
VA   SB 41   3/30/2016: Vetoed by Governor

e. Other Marriage Exemption Bills 

State

     

Bill Number

    

Status

IN   HB 1041   3/14/2016: Dead
KY   HB 31   4/15/2016: Dead
MI   HB 4733   12/31/2016: Dead
MO   HB 2754   5/13/2016: Dead
OK   HB 1125   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   HB 1599   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 478   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   HJR 1059   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 973   5/27/2016: Dead
SC   H 3022   6/15/2016: Dead
SC   H 3150   6/15/2016: Dead
SC   H 4513   6/15/2016: Dead

Adoption & Foster Care

Adoption and foster care agencies could refuse to provide any adoption services that would conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the agency, regardless of the best interests of the children in their care.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

AL   HB 158/SB 204   5/4/2016: Dead
FL   HB 401   3/11/2016: Dead
NE   LB 975   4/20/2016: Dead
OK   HJR 1059   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   HB 2428   5/27/2016: Dead

Colleges & University Student Groups

Require public colleges and universities to give benefits, including access to funding and the use of facilities, to student organizations even if the organization discriminates based on their religious beliefs.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

CA   AB 1212   8/31/2016: Dead
KS   SB 175   3/23/2016: Became Law
SC   SB 210   6/15/2016: Dead

Access to Health Services

Legislation allows those with religious objections to undermine professional standards that apply equally to everyone. For instance, a high school guidance counselor could refuse to counsel a gay teenager, citing their sincerely held religious beliefs.

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

AK   HB 325   6/19/2016: Dead
FL   HB 401   3/11/2016: Dead
OK   HJR 1059   5/27/2016: Dead
TN   HB 566/SB 397   4/22/2016: Dead
TN   HB 1840/SB 1556   4/27/2016: Became Law

Other Exemption Bills

State

    

Bill Number

    

Status

HI   HB 2181   5/5/2016: Dead
HI   HB 1337/SB 940   5/5/2016: Dead
HI   HB 2764   5/5/2016: Dead
IA   HF 2207/SF 2211   4/29/2016: Dead
IA   SF 2043   4/29/2016: Dead
IA   SF 2044   4/29/2016: Dead
MO   HJR 96   5/13/2016: Dead
MO   SB 916   5/13/2016: Dead
MS   HB 1523   4/5/2016: Became Law 
OK   SB 1328   5/27/2016: Dead
OK   SB 1619   5/27/2016: Dead
SD   HB 1107   3/29/2016: Dead
VA   HB 773   3/11/2016: Dead
WA   HB 2752   3/29/2016: Dead

 

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