Examining intersections of religious freedom with other rights

PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau joined an expert panel  at the Philadelphia Bar Association for a brown-bag discussion Friday on modern interpretations of religious freedom amid new legal protections for LGBT people and shifting reproductive rights.

PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau (c.) draws attention to a point as co-panelists Molly Tack-Hooper and Rabbi David Teutsch listen.

PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau (c.) draws attention to a point as co-panelists Molly Tack-Hooper and Rabbi David Teutsch listen. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Religious Refusals and Exemptions: Religious Opposition to LGBT Rights and Reproductive Freedom explored issues raised by recent cases and news, from the Hobby Lobby decision in the U.S. Supreme Court to the controversial decision by an elected Kentucky country clerk who refused to approve marriage licenses due to her objections to same-sex marriage.

Along with Molly Tack-Hooper, staff attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Rabbi David Teutsch, director of the Levin-Lieber Program in Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Landau delved into where the lines lie today.

Dozens of attorneys and other interested professionals attended the session and engaged in a Q&A with panelists on Constitutional, moral and ethical grounds.

“It was a lively discussion, and it got a lot of us thinking about things in new ways as we forge new territory for newly instilled rights,” Landau said.

“Still, it’s important to remember that we already have laws in place from the Constitution to multiple statutes that protect religious freedom. So, we must reject any new religious exemption laws that are attempts to legislate discrimination,” she added.

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