Sunday, January 4, 2015

AU Program: "Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath" — Jan. 15, 2015 at 7 PM

Please join us January 15, 2015 at 7:00 PM to hear Gregory Lipper, Senior Litigation Counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, discuss “Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath.” The program will be held at the Reason Center, 1824 Tribute Road, Suite A, Sacramento 95815.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the Supreme Court ruled that a for-profit corporation can exclude contraception from its health insurance plans, based on the religious views of the corporation's owners. The basis for this 5-4 decision was not the First Amendment, but rather the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute passed in 1993. Never before had the Supreme Court allowed this type of exemption when it would deprive third parties of rights and benefits. And the Religious Right has already seized on Hobby Lobby to push for exemptions from antidiscrimination laws, including laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Greg will discuss the circumstances that led to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, how the Hobby Lobby decision has made it easier for the Religious Right to impose their religious beliefs on others, and how the decision may affect other laws—including civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

A bit about Mr. Lipper: Greg received his J.D. magna cum laude, in 2003 from Harvard Law School. He litigates church/state cases at trial and on appeal, and was named a 2013 “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. Most significantly for this program, he authored the amicus brief for Americans United and 30 faith groups, defending employees’ access to affordable contraception in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. He was also part of the team that represented the Respondents in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the first Supreme Court case in over a decade to consider the limits on government-sponsored prayer.

This program is free and open to the public.

Re directions: be especially careful to stay on Tribute Road after the last turn and take the driveway to the left off the quasi cul-de-sac.

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