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Obergefell v. Hodges

Ohio amended its state constitution in 2004 to restrict the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and further prohibited the recognition of a legal relationship that “approximate[s] the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.” Support for the amendment came mostly from religious organizations, and their arguments were couched in explicitly religious terms.
 
Several same-sex couples and an adoption agency challenged Ohio’s marriage ban.

DeBoer v. Snyder

Michigan law does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children. A same-sex couple with adopted children initially challenged this law in January 2012, and later expanded their lawsuit to challenge the Michigan Marriage Amendment.

Bourke v. Beshear

In 1998, the Kentucky legislature passed a law limiting the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and prohibited the recognition of marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in other states. Eight years later, the state amended its constitution to codify these prohibitions.

Bostic v. Schaefer

In 2006, Virginia amended its state constitution to limit the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and also prohibited the creation or recognition of civil unions short of marriage. Support for the amendment came primarily from religious groups, and its supporters couched their arguments in religious terms. In July 2013, two same-sex couples challenged Virginia’s marriage ban. The federal trial court ruled in their favor, and the state appealed to the U.S.

Bishop v. Smith

In November 2004, Oklahoma amended its state constitution to limit the state’s recognition of marriage to heterosexual marriage and making it a crime to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The amendment was supported with religious arguments and appeals to scripture. In response, two lesbian couples sued to invalidate the amendment.

After nearly a decade of litigation, the federal trial court held that Oklahoma’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. The state appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Kountze Independent School District v. Matthews

In fall 2012, Kountze Independent School District in Texas received an anonymous complaint regarding religious banners at one of its high school’s football games.

Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education

In 2008, the Mount Vernon City School District began an investigation into eighth-grade science teacher John Freshwater, after the parents of one of Freshwater’s students complained that Freshwater had used a Tesla coil to brand a cross on the student’s arm.  Over the course of the investigation, the school district found evidence that Freshwater kept a Bible on his desk and a copy of the Ten Commandments on the classroom bulletin board, proselytized to students, and taught creationism and intelligent design in place of the standard science curriculum.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Solid Waste Management Program awards competitive grants to qualifying organizations to purchase recycled tire rubber, which is used to resurface playgrounds. In order to comply with the No-Aid Clause of the Missouri Constitution, the program does not award grants to organizations owned or operated by “a church, sect, or denomination of religions.”
 
Trinity Lutheran Child Center—a religious pre-school operated by Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia—applied to participate in the grant program in early 2012.

Michigan Catholic Conference v. Burwell

As part of the Affordable Care Act’s implementing regulations, group health plans are required to include coverage for various forms of preventative care, including all FDA-approved methods of contraception. Houses of worship are exempt from these requirements, and the Department of Health and Human Services later created a broader accommodation for certain nonprofit organizations. In particular, religious non-profit organizations may opt out of providing contraceptive coverage by certifying their religious objection; upon receipt of this certification, the organization’s insurance company—or in the case of self-insured plans, its third-party administrator—steps in to provide the coverage. In August 2014, the government provided a second accommodation; religious nonprofit organizations now need only write a letter to the government in order to be relieved of any obligation to provide contraceptive coverage.

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell

As part of the Affordable Care Act’s implementing regulations, group health plans are required to include coverage for various forms of preventative care, including all FDA-approved methods of contraception. Houses of worship are exempt from these requirements, and the Department of Health and Human Services later created a broader accommodation for certain nonprofit organizations.

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