The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employee-benefit plans to protect the interests of employees who participate in these plans. To avoid undue governmental intrusion in church affairs, the Act provides an exemption for plans established by churches. Some non-church entities have begun to claim this exemption.
In 1998, Hawaii amended its state constitution to allow the state legislature to ban same-sex marriage. Four years later, Nevada adopted a similar constitutional amendment, forbidding any government official in the state from recognizing same-sex marriage. Both amendments were challenged under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause by same-sex couples, in lawsuits filed in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The trial court in each case rejected the challenge, and the couples appealed. Their cases were consolidated before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The City of San Diego leases large parcels of prime parkland to the Boy Scouts of America at nominal rates. The Boy Scouts discriminate in membership and employment against atheists and agnostics by requiring scouts and leaders to profess a belief in God. A federal trial court held that the leases were unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts are a religious organization and San Diego’s leasing process was not neutral. The Boy Scouts appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
This case involves the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (otherwise known as the "California Marriage Protection Act"), a referendum that amended the California Constitution to provide that legal marriages can only be between a man and a woman. After a federal trial, the district court ruled that Proposition 8 violates the U.S.
A California public high-school teacher displayed large banners in his classroom with the following text: "IN GOD WE TRUST," "ONE NATION UNDER GOD," "GOD BLESS AMERICA," "GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE," and "All Men Are Created Equal They Are Endowed By Their CREATOR." After the teacher refused to provide those with greater historical context so as to avoid promoting religion, the school district instructed the teacher to remove the banners altogether.