Religious liberty cases reaching nation's highest court

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

U.S. Supreme Court w/ flagExpect to hear a lot more about the Supreme Court and religious freedom cases in coming months. 

"There are two big religious freedom cases at the Supreme Court right now," advises attorney Luke Goodrich of Becket, a religious liberty law firm. "One involves federal employment discrimination laws, and the question is whether employers can be punished if they discriminate against their employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

That case is R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Oral arguments took place Oct. 8. 

"The religious freedom issue there is there are thousands of religious organizations across the country that have traditional beliefs about sexuality and they often expect their employees to uphold those traditional religious beliefs," says Goodrich. “If the Supreme Court goes the wrong way, all of those religious organizations would suddenly be exposed to new lawsuits and new potential liability."

U.S. ConstitutionAnother religious freedom case at the Supreme Court is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. At issue is government funding for religious schools.

Goodrich says that issue is over a state program that provides tax breaks to Montanans who donate to a scholarship program. Those scholarship funds can be used at private schools, both religious and secular.

“These sorts of programs are perfectly lawful under the federal Constitution,” the Becket attorney says, “but Montana has a state constitutional provision that's more aggressive when it comes to separation of church and state.”

Arguments for that legal case have not been scheduled.

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