Practicing the free expression of all religious traditions
Freedom of speech is not only an inherent human right, but also a fundamental building block of our society. The First Amendment protects our right to speak freely on issues without fear of government censorship or punishment, even when, and especially when, that view is unpopular. This involves religious speech as well.
However, in recent years, religious speech has been treated like a second-class citizen, being threatened with government fines, restrictions on sermons, and labels of hate-speech, all because someone may disagree.
Becket litigates cases of religious speech around the world. We believe in order for a free democracy to be preserved, we must allow a wide variety of voices and opinions to coexist.
News & Media
Free Speech Cases
Use the simple filters to explore our cases in this practice area, or visit our Cases Page to search our entire database.
Buck v. Gordon
Thousands of foster children nationwide are waiting for their forever family, but there are not enough families willing to foster and adopt. In Michigan, no one addresses this crisis more effectively than faith-based adoption agencies like St. Vincent Catholic ...
Archdiocese of Washington v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. conducts an annual holiday campaign which includes advertising on social media as well as on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s buses and Metro subway cars. But in 2017, as the Christmas season ...
St. Vincent Catholic Charities v. Ingham County Board of Commissioners
For more than 40 years, St. Vincent Catholic Charities has been resettling refugee adults and families in the Lansing, Michigan area. St. Vincent helps refugees find homes, get medical care, find jobs, and build new lives free from the dangers ...
First Resort, Inc. v. Herrera
Support Circle is a non-profit clinic and counseling center in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, counseling, and support to women looking for resources as they face unplanned pregnancies. In 2011, the City of San Francisco ...
Baker v. Hands On Originals
For years, print shop owner Blaine Adamson has declined to print messages that contradict his core religious beliefs—a standard industry practice. So when the Gay and Lesbian Services Organizations (GLSO) asked Blaine to create t-shirts promoting the 2012 Pride ...
Ingersoll v. Arlene's Flowers
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, is a floral artist and devout Christian who enjoys creating custom floral arrangements to celebrate her customers’ life events. In 2013 a long-time customer and friend asked Barronelle to do the flowers for ...
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra
Government has no right to silence one side of any debate, let alone one as deeply important to people on all sides as abortion. But in 2015, California enacted the Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act, which targeted ...
Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
The City of Baltimore passed a city law to force the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns to post signs with government language about abortion, even though the Center already accurately informs women about their services and position on ...
Rigdon v. Perry
In June 1996, the Pentagon issued a directive barring military chaplains from discussing moral issues in their sermons. The order prevented Air Force Chaplains Father Vincent Rigdon and Rabbi David Kaye from preaching openly to their congregations about abortion or ...
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. Wayne State University
The Intervarsity Christian Fellowship student group has been at the Michigan’s Wayne State University campus for over 75 years, holding Bible studies, hosting discussions on important campus issues, and providing a community for all students. Its goal has always ...
McCullen v. Coakley
Eleanor McCullen has spent decades exercising her religion by offering help and support to women in need outside of abortion clinics. Knowing that women often have abortions when they feel they have no place to turn for love and ...
Hood v. Medford Township Board of Education
In 1996, Zachary Hood, a 1st grade student in Medford, New Jersey, chose to bring a children’s Bible to school to read aloud to his class. When his teacher told him that he could not read it because of ...
U.S. v. Sterling
Reed v. Town of Gilbert
Pleasant Grove v. Summum
Heffernan v. City of Paterson
Good News Club v. Milford Central School
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
In July 2012, a same-sex couple asked Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who runs Masterpiece Cake Shop in Denver, Colorado, to bake a cake for their wedding. After Phillips explained that he could not participate in their wedding ceremony because ...