Catholic Conference of Kentucky Makes Strong Arguments in Favor of the Religious Freedom Bill (HB 279)

In their March 12 letter to Gov. Steve Beshear urging him to sign the Religious Freedom Bill (HB 279) into law, the leaders of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky put forth several strong arguments in support of the bill.

Their first point is that the “strict scrutiny” standard is not new, and has been the standard in federal courts since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993.  The primary sponsor of the bill in the Senate was Ted Kennedy, who explained:

The act creates no new rights for any religious practice or for any potential litigant. Not every free exercise claim will prevail. It simply restores the long-established tandard of review that had worked well for many years and that requires courts to weigh free exercise claims against the compelling State interest standard.

The Catholic Conference also points out that at the time it was passed, RFRA was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Finally, the Catholic Conference leaders point out that even those opposing the passage of HB 279 say it will not override other rights:

Indeed, in the letter sent to you by the Kentucky Equality Federation urging your veto, their own counsel conceded that HB 279 will not significantly affect anything in the courts. HB 279 will not override any other rights, but will merely require that the free exercise of religion be given its proper weight whenever it is at issue in a case before the courts of the Commonwealth.

The Religious Freedom Bill (HB 279) will simply restore Kentucky to the strict scrutiny standard and bring it in line standards upheld by federal courts.

What can you do?

Gov. Beshear says he is still considering what to do with this bill.  You voice matters! Call the governor today at  at (502) 564-2611 and urge him to sign the Religious Freedom Act (HB 279) into law.

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