Religious Liberty, Immigration Sanctuary, and Unintended Consequences for Reproductive and LGBTQ Rights
30 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018 Last revised: 26 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 19, 2018
The idea that a person in the United States is free to exercise his or her religion has existed as long as the country itself. Presently, in the aftermath of the presidential election of Donald Trump, there has been renewed interest among religious congregations to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. This note considers the idea that potential religious liberty claims could be made by faith-based communities to provide sanctuary but pays particular attention to potential unintended consequences those claims could have for reproductive and LGBTQ rights. This note proposes that any religious liberty claims made in the name of sanctuary should 1) be evaluated in the domain of antidiscrimination law and not analogized to much broader “conscience clauses;” 2) advocate for a narrower construction of religious liberty jurisprudence and religious liberty-protecting statutes; and 3) push courts to evaluate the sincerity of sincerely held religious beliefs.
Keywords: Religious Liberty, LGTBQ, LGTBQ equality, Sanctuary, Immigration, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, Reproductive Rights, LGTBQ rights
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