Whenever churches or religious organizations find themselves involved in civil litigation, courts first must determine whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses bestow a unique legal status on religious organizations that puts some of their decisions and actions beyond the reach of civil laws.
On Dec. 6, a federal appeals court in San Francisco will hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a voter-approved 2008 California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state.
On Nov. 3, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a pair of related cases involving a constitutional challenge to an Arizona tax policy aimed at providing scholarships for children to attend private – often religious – schools.
A federal district court judge today struck down California’s ban on gay marriage, ruling that the prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution. The decision, which is expected to be appealed, represents the first time a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. In his ruling, District Court […]
A divided Supreme Court today ruled, 5-4, that a public law school can deny recognition to a student group that excludes gays and lesbians. The Court said the school could enforce a policy requiring official student organizations to accept all students who want to join. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, arose in 2004 […]
The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned a lower court ruling that had ordered the removal of a cross from a World War I memorial located in California’s Mojave National Preserve. Prior to the high court’s decision in this case, Salazar v. Buono, a federal district court had ruled that allowing the eight-foot-tall cross to remain […]
With their distinctive appearance and religious practices, Sikh-Americans often find themselves at the center of workplace discrimination cases and other controversies involving their religious rights. And while Sikh groups have worked to carve out legal protections for the community’s religious practices, their efforts have not always met with success. In California, for example, Gov. Arnold […]
On Oct. 7, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Salazar v. Buono, a case involving a constitutional challenge to the presence of an eight-foot-tall Christian cross in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, Calif. The case arose when Frank Buono, a former assistant superintendent of the preserve, filed a […]
In this research package Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage Slideshow: Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage Overview of Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S. Gay Marriage and the Law Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Gay Marriage Gay Marriage Around the World Graphic: State Policies on Same-Sex Marriage Q&A: Gay Marriage and the Free Exercise of Religion On […]
In an ongoing series of occasional reports, “Religion and the Courts: The Pillars of Church-State Law,” the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life explores the complex, fluid relationship between government and religion. Among the issues to be examined are religion in public schools, displays of religious symbols on public property, conflicts concerning the free […]