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. Read more
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 receiving 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.Read more
In 2004, the state of Utah passed legislation and adopted a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The ballot materials for the latter included expressions of religious opposition to homosexuality, including references to “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” In 2013, same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the marriage ban. The couples argued that the marriage ban unconstitutionally infringes their fundamental right to marriage and their right to equal protection under the law. The trial court ruled in favor of the couples and invalidated the marriage ban; the state appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.Read more
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. Various secular, for-profit businesses with religious owners have filed lawsuits asserting that they cannot include contraception coverage in employee health plans without violating, among other things, their free exercise rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Read more