Religious Freedom Restoration Act
|To Protect the free exercise of religion.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 11, 1993
Mr. MCKEON, and Mr. GALLO introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
To protect the free exercise of religion.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSES.
(2) laws "neutral" toward religion may substantially burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;
(3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;
(4) in Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws naeutral toward religion; and
(5) the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner and Wisconsin v. Yoder is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing governmental interests.
(b) PURPOSES. -- The purposes of this Act are --
(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.
SEC. 3. FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED.
(b) EXCEPTION. -- Government may burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person --
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(c) JUDICIAL RELIEF. -- A person whose religious exercise has been substantially burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.
(b) ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS. -- Section 504(b)(1)(C) of title 5, United States Code, is amended --
(2) by striking the semicolon at the end of clause (iii) and inserting "; and"; and
(3) by inserting "(iv) the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993" after clause (iii).
SEC. 5 DEFINITIONS.
(2) the term "State" includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory and possession of the United States;
(3) the term "demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion; and
(4) the term "exercise of religion" means exercise of religion under the first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
SEC. 6. APPLICABILITY.
(b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION. -- Federal statutory law adopted after the date of the enactment of this Act is subject to this Act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this Act.
(c) RELIGIOUS BELIEF UNAFFECTED. -- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any government to substantially burden any religious belief.
SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE UNAFFECTED.
(b) DEFINITION. -- As used in this section, the term "granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions" does not include a denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.