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The Balancing Act of Determining Discrimination

2016 May 17

The balancing act of determining discrimination

Multiple “religious freedom” bills are currently capturing the attention of state legislatures across the country. “Religious freedom” bills are proposed legislation that call for religious organizations, businesses, and individuals to be protected from penalties for declining to provide services to individuals whose lifestyle conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs.  After the Supreme Court decision in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage, these bills are particularly pertinent for those who, due to their religious beliefs, feel that they cannot provide their services to LGBTQ events concerning marriage. As a result, state legislatures and their constituents are facing the question of how they should balance the rights of people of faith and those of LGBTQ people.

The pressure to strike this balance has not been isolated to this year alone. In 2015, after passing SB 101, a bill that prohibited the state from “burdening a person’s exercise of religion,” the Indiana legislature clarified a month later with SB 50 that SB 101 does not authorize a “provider” to refuse an individual on the basis of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This event foreshadowed the legislative competition that was to come after the 2015 same-sex marriage decision, with churches and LGBTQ groups vying for the protection of those they represent.

Introduced in January 2016, Georgia HB 757 proposed to authorize a religious official or organization to decline to perform a ceremony or provide a service that went against their religious beliefs. The bill passed both the House ...

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VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in North Carolina

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving North Carolina voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Twenty-two of the congressional and state legislative candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Fracking

2013 January 28

With new technology comes new debates and in 2012 many state legislatures attempted to regulate a relatively new industry they did not know much about. 

Legislative Wrap-Up: Bullying in Schools

2013 January 25

Throughout the past decade there has been a national trend of legislation on bullying.

North Carolina Legislative Wrap-Up

2012 November 28

The North Carolina General Assembly has biennial sessions with a regular long session in odd years and a short session held on even years.

Same-Sex Marriage Wrap-Up

2012 November 19

Over the past few years, the country has witnessed an abundance of legislation on both the state and national levels regarding same-sex marriage.

June Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 June 12

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Will your candidates show political courage?

2012 May 23

Every election year, Project Vote Smart uses the Political Courage Test (PCT) to measure the willingness of candidates to provide their positions on key issues. Find out now if your candidates are currently being tested. 

April Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 April 24

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