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North Carolina Legislators Will Regret The Day They Voted For Religion-Based Discrimination, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Vote On Same-Sex Marriage Refusals Likely To Spark Costly Litigation

The North Carolina House of Representatives today voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto and approve a bill that gives state magistrates the right to refuse service to same-sex couples and others. It’s a move the state will end up paying for in court, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“By enshrining discrimination into law, North Carolina’s lawmakers just signed a full-employment act for civil liberties lawyers,” said the Rev. Barry W, Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Unfortunately, the state’s taxpayers will be stuck with the tab.” Read more

Common Sense In Carolina: N.C. Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Legislation

The Tea Party and other far-right groups speak often of their love for the Constitution. But for all their talk about America’s foundational document, many of these zealots understand our laws about as well as an average kindergartner. That is why it’s always a pleasure when a political leader rejects these stilted views. Read more

Courting Trouble: N.C. County Official Vows To Exclude Non-Christian Prayers From Government Meetings

When it comes to religion in America, the majority is most certainly not permitted to rule. Apparently an official in a North Carolina county is unaware of this fact, as evidenced by his recent claim that non-Christians should be banned from giving prayers before local government meetings.     Read more

Sectarian Prayer Policy Resumes In N.C. County After High Court Ruling

A North Carolina county has resumed its policy of inviting clergy from mostly Christian denominations to deliver sectarian prayers before its board meetings.

In yet another instance of fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Greece v. Galloway, U.S. District Court Judge James A. Beaty Jr. recently lifted an injunction that had barred Forsyth County from opening its meetings with Christian prayers. Read more

Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions

Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.

These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more

Divine Discrimination?: Religious Refusals Likely To Grow In Marriage Equality’s Wake

North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban is probably history. But the Supreme Court’s decision to let a lower court ruling striking the ban doesn’t sit so well with the Religious Right, and thanks to the efforts of local extremists, a new front in the civil rights battle has emerged: religious refusals. Read more

Equal Access For All: Atheist Student Clubs Shouldn’t Be Subject To A Heckler’s Veto

If you have any contact with a public high school, you probably know that students can form an array of clubs that meet during non-instructional time.

My son, who is in 10th grade, reports a dizzying list of student-run clubs at his school, covering every possible interest. Along with some friends, my son joined the anime club and was for a time involved in a “duct tape club.” (Don’t ask.)

There are also many religious clubs at the school. Jewish students have a club, as do Muslim students. There are several Christian clubs.

How can this be? It’s a public school. Read more

Missed Opportunity: North Carolina’s Voucher Program Likely To Fund Homeschools

Supporters of North Carolina’s new voucher program say its “Opportunity Scholarships” are intended to benefit the state’s most disadvantaged students. This is common rhetoric from school choice advocates, who base their arguments on the assumption that private schools always offer students a better education.
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