The ACLU of Georgia opposes SB 180 because it omits the Establishment Clause that is requisite to First Amendment religious protection. This omission could create a license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ communities and religious minorities.

  • First Amendment protections of religion are predicated on two principles: the individual right to free exercise of religion without substantial governmental burden (Free Exercise Clause) and the government’s inability to establish or endorse any particular religion (Establishment Clause).
  • The free exercise and establishment clauses are intended to work in tandem to help prevent religious-based discrimination, protection that is compromised when only one of the principles is present, as is the case with SB 180.
  • By omitting the Establishment Clause, SB 180 could advance restrictive, extremist policies and actions under the guise of “religious freedom.”
  • SB 180 does not mirror the federal RFRA bill which passed in 1993. Federal RFRA included provisions addressing both religious freedom clauses.
  • Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Illinois have all passed RFRA legislation that includes both clauses.
  • In Kennedy v. Bremerton, the Supreme Court’s most recent decision regarding free exercise and government establishment, the Court specifically says that these clauses have “complementary purposes” not warring ones.


House Second Readers



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