Washington, D.C.—Today, American Atheists submitted testimony supporting the Do No Harm Act. This bill would limit the negative impact of religious exemptions in federal law in areas such as civil rights and health care coverage.
More specifically, the Do No Harm Act prevents the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) from being used as “a sword to cut down the rights of others.” RFRA has unfortunately provided religious individuals and groups justification to discriminate against atheists, religious minorities, LGBTQ people, and women.
Without passage of the Do No Harm Act, RFRA will remain unconstitutional. The Constitution commands that an exemption must not “impose unjustified burdens on others[s]” or have a “detrimental effect on any third party” (Cutter v. Wilkinson). The Do No Harm would correct this problem.
Nonetheless, American Atheists supports a full repeal of RFRA, since it oversteps the Constitution to grant unconstitutional preference to religious beliefs.
“Religious equality cannot truly be achieved until RFRA is repealed. However, the Do No Harm Act has broad support from numerous LGBTQ, civil rights, health, and faith groups, and it is an important step in the direction of religious equality,” said Alison Gill, Vice President for Legal and Policy, who submitted the testimony.