Religious Liberty in 14 States

IowaLGBTRallyMarch was a big month for religion – Lent, Holy Week, Easter, religious bombings. But things have been happening in state-level legislature as well: More than a dozen states have seen some sort of movement on issues of religious freedom in their governments. Below, we have an at-a-glance roundup of everything that’s been happening in the states world of religious freedom since the beginning of March.

(Besides getting involved in your state’s politics, you can also pray for religious liberty by joining the Memorare Army here.)


A bill allowing agencies the right to refuse same-sex adoption and foster care have passed the senate committee – House Bill 158/Senate Bill 204.


House Bill 401 has been defeated. HB 401 would have granted businesses, government employees and adoption agencies the right to refuse service to same-sex couples for weddings, and health officials the right to refuse service to same-sex individuals.

House Bill 43 and Senate Bill 110 became law, which gave pastors the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings.


The Georgia legislature has killed several religious freedom bills – House Bill 218 and Senate Bill 129, both Religious Freedom Restoration Acts; Senate Bill 284, a First Amendment Defense Act; and House Bill 756, which would have allowed businesses the right to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings.

House Bill 757, which would have been a First Amendment Defense Act as well as giving same-sex marriage exemption to pastors, passed the Georgia legislature but was vetoed by the governor.


Senate Bill 66 and House Bill 1041, both general religious exemption bills, were stopped.


A bill allowing religious-conscious student organizations of public colleges and universities to refuse benefits to same-sex individuals was passed into law – SB 175.


A business exemption bill has passed in the Kentucky Senate – SB 180.


House Bill 597, which would give religious exemption to pastors wishing to remove themselves from same-sex weddings, has been introduced.


Government employee, business, and pastor exemption SF 2158 is currently active.


General religious objection House Bill 1523 has passed the Senate committee.

The reaction to the bill has been particularly bad in Mississippi. Government officials from several states have been ordered by their states to avoid all unnecessary travel to Mississippi in protest.


House Joint Resolution 97/Senate Joint Resolution 39, both granting religious-founded conscientious exemption to businesses and pastors, have passed the Senate, while pastor and religious exemption bill HB 2754 and pastor exemption bill HB 2730 have been introduced.

North Carolina

Religious exemption bills HB 348 and SB 550 are now active.

South Dakota

House Bill 1107, a religious exemption bill, has died in the state legislature.

West Virginia

Religious exemption bills HB 2508, HB 4012, and SB 11 have all been ended in legislature.


Government employee exemption bill SB 40 and general religious exemption bill HB 773 are both dead, but a pastor exemption bill – SB 41 – has passed the Senate.

 The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).

Eileen Wittig