The ACLU of Texas strives to safeguard the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by ensuring that laws and governmental practices neither promote religion nor interfere with its free exercise.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” As enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other.
However, in recent years we have seen individuals and institutions claiming a right to discriminate by refusing to provide services to women and LGBT people based on religious objections. While the ACLU of Texas regards the freedom of religion as sacrosanct, it does not include a right to discriminate.