Pennsylvania Passes "The Religious Freedom Protection Act"

November 21, 2002

Source: The Associated Press

On November 21, 2002 The Associated Press reported that "Pennsylvania could become the 10th state to pass a bill meant to give new protections to religious groups but criticized by opponents as giving the groups free rein to ignore many laws. The Religious Freedom Protection Act... would allow laws that burden a person's religious practice or belief to be challenged in court if the state lacks a compelling interest in passing the laws. Any law also must be the least restrictive of religion as possible. Nine states have passed religious-freedom acts and two states have made similar changes in their constitutions, according to legislative officials... Critics say the bill is excessively broad and that laws like it have resulted in religious groups successfully arguing for exemptions from important laws in other states."