Religious Freedom Restoration Act Information Central

What (RFRA) basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion. … We believe strongly that we can never … be too vigilant in this work.

President Bill Clinton

Stories

How do RFRA laws work?

  • 1 Substantial Burden

    Does the individual have a sincere belief that is being substantially burdened?

  • 2 Compelling Interest

    Does the Government have a very good reason (e.g. health or safety) to interfere?

  • 3 Least Restrictive Means

    Is there a reasonable alternative to serve the public interest?

RFRA: Myth vs. Reality

Myth

RFRA spells disaster for LGBT rights.

Reality

RFRAs don’t make the sky fall.

21 states have passed a state RFRA. States like Connecticut and Illinois have had RFRAs on the books since the 1990s, and LGBT advocates still hail them as some of the best states for LGBT individuals.

Myth

RFRA was created to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Reality

RFRA was created to protect religious minorities.

RFRA was originally created after Oregon state denied unemployment benefits to Native American counselors who were fired for using peyote in their religious ceremonies.

Myth

RFRA is just a trump card for religious people to use in court.

Reality

No side gets an automatic win.

The interests of all sides get weighed. All RFRA does is level the playing field in court for people of deeply held religious convictions. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose.