Fighting Discrimination

Discrimination in Name of Religion

Ensuring religious freedom is not used to harm others

Our Constitution promises everyone the freedom to believe and practice as they want, but does not give anyone the right to use religion as a license to discriminate.

Separation of church and state means we have a fundamental right to be treated equally under the law. The more our laws evolve to protect everyone’s freedom, the more religious extremists try to gain exceptions to those laws to victimize marginalized communities.

This dangerous agenda undermines people’s access to health care, social services, businesses, workplace protections, public education, and more. This affects all of us, but religion is most often used as a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, and the nonreligious.

The most important issues we're facing


What You Should Know

AU Supports the Do No Harm Act

The Do No Harm Act, re-introduced in the House in February 2021 and the Senate in September 2021, will help protect religious freedom for all while ensuring that it can’t be misused to harm others.

400,000 Kids in Foster Care Need Homes

There are more than 400,000 children in foster care nationwide. Yet, taxpayer-funded foster care agencies turn away families who are LGBTQ or the “wrong” religion -- people who want to provide these children loving homes.

Workplace protections in peril

Some religious employers have an exemption from civil rights laws, which allows them to hire and fire clergy as they choose. Now, some employers are trying to expand this “ministerial exception” to include hundreds of thousands of teachers and other workers.

Milestones

  • November 8, 2021

    President Joe Biden’s Department of Labor announced plans to rescind a Trump rule that allowed federal contractors to discriminate against workers and job applicants in the name of religion. The Trump rule made it easier for federal contractors, which employ more than one-fifth of the entire U.S. workforce, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and the nonreligious.

    Read AU’s comments supporting the Biden proposed rule here

  • September, 2021

    Senator Cory Booker took over responsibility from Vice President Kamala Harris as the main sponsor of the Do No Harm in the Senate. U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Steve Cohen, Jamie Raskin, and Mary Gay Scanlon reintroduced the bill in the House in February 2021. The DNHA will restore the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to its original intent by preserving the law’s power to protect religious freedom, while also clarifying that it may not be used to harm others.

    Learn more about the Do No Harm Act

  • June 17, 2021

    In Fulton v. Philadelphia, the Supreme Court allowed a taxpayer-funded, faith-based foster care agency to reject LGBTQ parents in violation of city nondiscrimination provisions. Because the narrow ruling only applied to Philadelphia, AU continues to fight in court on behalf of Aimee Maddonna, Fatma Marouf, and Bryn Esplin – who were turned away by taxpayer-funded foster care agencies because they didn’t pass the agencies’ religious tests.

    Here’s what the Supreme Court did – and didn’t do – in Fulton v. Philadelphia

  • Fall 2020

    Americans United began representing Gregg Tucker and Shelly Fitzgerald, who were unjustly fired by private religious schools. Shelly and Gregg are among the many people harmed by religious employers that are capitalizing on Supreme Court decisions by seeking an ever broader interpretation of the “ministerial exception” and denying civil rights to all of their workers.

    Learn more about Gregg & Shelly’s cases here:

  • July 8, 2020

    In Trump v. Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration didn’t violate procedural rules when it implemented regulations that allow employers and universities to use religion to deny workers and students birth control coverage guaranteed by law. But because this religious exemption causes harm, Americans United continues to challenge the rules in court on behalf of Notre Dame students, and AU is urging President Biden to revoke these rules.

    Learn more about AU’s lawsuit on behalf of Notre Dame students who lost birth control access

  • November 2019

    In response to lawsuits brought by AU and allies, federal judges blocked the Trump administration’s Denial of Care Rule, which invited health care providers to cite their religious beliefs to deny care to anyone, even in emergencies. Though blocked, the rule remains on the books and AU continues to fight it on two fronts – in court and by urging the Biden administration to revoke it.

    Learn more about AU’s lawsuits challenging the Trump-era Denial of Care Rule

Learn More About Americans United’s Latest Work

  • Sign to support students & church-state separation at the U.S. Supreme Court Sign the Open Letter
  • Americans United tells Missouri governor that you don't gotta believe Read More

Unite in the fight for religious freedom. Make a gift to AU today.

Donate

BREAKING:

AU calls out leaked supreme court opinion overturning abortion rights as a religious extremist assault on our democracy

"The end of Roe is just the beginning. Next on the hit list are a broad array of protections for personal liberty."—Rachel Laser, AU's CEO and President

Read our statement here