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52 Wake Forest L. Rev. 585 (2017)
The Impact of State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts: An Analysis of the Interpretive Case Law

handle is hein.journals/wflr52 and id is 611 raw text is: 






     THE   IMPACT OF STATE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
       RESTORATION ACTS: AN ANALYSIS OF THE
                  INTERPRETIVE CASE LAW



                         Lucien  J. Dhooge*


    Some  courts may  turn [a statutory] shield for religious exercise
into a sword against civil rights.'

    So far [state RFRAs] are the dog that has not barked.2


                           INTRODUCTION
     On March  16, 2016, the Georgia General Assembly  passed House
Bill 757, the so-called Free Exercise Protection Act.3 H.B. 757 (the
Bill) included  three   sections relating  to  clergy, faith-based
organizations, and  religious expression.4  The  Bill was  subject to
heated  debate between  critics and supporters. Critics described the
Bill as an effort to perpetuate second-class citizenship for some of our
fellow  Georgians--specifically,  the  LGBTQ+ community-and
pointed to the Bill's failure to identify harms necessitating legislative



    *  Sue and John Staton Professor of Law and Ethics, Scheller College of
Business, Georgia Institute of Technology. The author thanks Rachel Cook and
Utena Yang for their time and effort devoted to this article.
    1. Religious Liberty Protection Act of 1999: Hearing Before the Subcomm.
on the Constitution of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 81 (1999)
(testimony submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union).
    2. Christopher C. Lund, Religious Liberty After Gonzales: A Look at State
RFRAs, 55 S.D. L. REV. 466, 469 (2010).
    3. H.B. 757, 154th Leg., Reg. Sess. §§ 2, 4-6 (Ga. 2016); see Aaron Gould
Sheinin & Kristina Torres, Religious Rights Bill Passes, ATLANTA J. CONST., Mar.
17, 2016, at Al.
    4. See Ga. H.B. 757 (immunizing clergy from civil claims and state penalties
arising from their refusal to solemnize any marriage or administer any
sacrament based upon the free exercise of religion; immunizing faith-based
organizations from civil claims and state penalties arising from decisions
relating to the use of their property and the provision of social, educational, and
charitable services based upon a sincerely held religious belief; and prohibiting
the government from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion even
if the burden was the result of a law of general applicability absent a compelling
governmental interest which was furthered by least restrictive means).


585

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