Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- In Tingley v. Ferguson, the Ninth Circuit denied an en banc rehearing for challenges of free speech, free exercise, and vagueness to Washington State’s ban on conversion therapy on minors. The case was originally heard by a 3-judge panel, which upheld the ban.
- In Gardner-Alfred v. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Southern District of New York held that two former employees could bring suit against the Bank for violations of Title VII, RFRA, and the Free Exercise Clause. The basis of the claims come from the Bank’s denial of a religious exemption from the Bank’s COVID vaccine mandate.
- In L.B. ex rel Booth v. Simpson Cty. Sch. Dist., filed in the Southern District of Mississippi, a school district abandoned a policy that prohibited students from wearing masks with political or religious messages. The parties settled, and the school district will now permit the student to wear a mask that reads “Jesus Loves Me.”
- In Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a ruling on January 26, 2023, stating that the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act did not infringe on Jack Phillips’ free exercise of religion (Phillips was the claimant in the different Masterpiece Cakeshop case decided by the Supreme Court in 2018). This case arose out of Phillips’ refusal to create a cake that celebrated and symbolized a gender transition because it would contravene his religious beliefs.
- Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana v. Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Inc. on January 19, 2023. The oral arguments dealt with a challenge to the state’s pro-life law, which prohibits abortion except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies, or when the woman’s life is at risk. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference defending the law.
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued Executive Order No. 733 on January 20, 2023, which requires a state executive-branch agency to enforce the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment to the greatest extent practicable. For example, the order requires executive branch agencies to consider possible burdens on religious exercise when adopting administrative rules, and also to allow state employees to express their religious beliefs in the same manner as they would express non-religious views.