President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs.
Americans United recently filed two legal briefs in cases challenging the display of religious symbols on government property:
In a Dec. 17 brief, Americans United told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Pennsylvania woman and her minor child should be permitted to sue the New Kensington-Arnold School District over a Ten Commandments display at a local high school.
A group of former employees is suing a Michigan dentist for religious discrimination because, they said, they were fired when they complained about Christian music that was played constantly in the office.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014-15 term is coming to a close, and a landmark ruling on marriage equality is pending. In light of that, “The Wall of Separation” asked AU’s Legal Department to examine the three possible outcomes in this case. In this blog post, Gregory Lipper, senior litigation counsel, and Matthew Russo, an AU legal intern, discuss what will likely happen if the high court extends marriage equality nationwide.
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on marriage equality. But in anticipation of the verdict, state legislators have rammed a number of anti-LGBT bills through legislatures and onto the books.
“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” has become a cliché, but opposition to marriage equality remains rooted in certain religious beliefs. The same-sex marriage bans of four states will be considered next week by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Proponents of these marriage bans framed their arguments in religious terms; legislators even quoted scripture and proclaimed that the ban was necessary “for the stability of society and for the greater glory of God.”
For the past six years, visitors to the city hall of Warren, Mich., have encountered something few municipal buildings have: a large booth marked “Prayer Station.”
Staffed four days a week, the prayer booth offers spiritual counseling and religious literature to those visiting the building. City officials justified it by saying that residents of the economically challenged municipality need a pick-me-up.
A Michigan city will stop displaying a large cross on a publicly owned hill in response to a complaint lodged by Americans United.
The decision was made during a Jan. 5 meeting of the Grand Haven City Council. The news website MLive.com reported that the council voted 3-2 to end its policy of sporadically displaying the cross, which was often attached to a hydraulic lift.
An attempt to pass a “religious freedom” bill in Michigan died after Senate Majority Leader Randy Rachardville did not let it come to a vote.
The bill had drawn the ire of LGBT rights groups, who argued that it would effectively legalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Of particular concern was a provision that would have allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against families headed by same-sex couples.
The fate of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban will soon be determined by the courts. In March, a judge struck the ban down, calling it unconstitutional. Michigan’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, immediately filed an appeal—and he’s recently attracted some new allies.