California continues fight against religious freedom laws

California has widened its ban on state employees travelling to other US states, after more states introduced laws to protect religious liberty.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that California will not fund work travel to Texas, Alabama, Kentucky or South Dakota. Other states, including Tennessee and North Carolina, were already on the banned list.

These states have all passed laws in recent years to uphold religious liberty, including the freedom of people who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Protecting Christians

In May, a Bill became law in Alabama ensuring that adoption agencies that do not receive federal funding cannot lose their license for adhering to faith-based policies.

House Bill 24 was passed by the Alabama House of Representatives by 87 votes to zero, with six abstensions, and was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey.

Endorsing the Bill, Gov Ivey said: “I ultimately signed House Bill 24 because it ensures hundreds of children can continue to find ‘forever homes’ through religiously-affiliated adoption agencies”.

She added that the Bill “protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home”.

‘Sincerely-held beliefs’

In South Dakota, new measures were introduced earlier this year also allowing Christian adoption agencies to operate in line with their religious beliefs.

South Dakota Family Policy Council said the Bill ensures that Christian adoption agencies will not be forced “to abandon their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions in their placement decisions”.

Tennessean lawmakers have responded to being placed on California’s banned list by passing a resolution addressed to local Government officials asking them to “refrain from imposing moral judgment on their sister states”.

They also commented that: “California’s attempt to influence public policy in our state is akin to Tennessee expressing its disapproval of California’s exorbitant taxes”.

‘Politically motivated’

Last month, Attorney General Becerra’s charges against a pro-life group were thrown out by the San Francisco Superior Court. The charges brought against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) related to videos exposing US abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Judge Christopher Hite dismissed them as “legally insufficient.” David Daleiden, speaking for the CMP, said of Becerra’s charges: “This is a politically motivated prosecution.”

In 2015, the group released undercover videos including one which showed senior members of Planned Parenthood ‘haggling’ over the price of body parts from aborted babies.

The case has received international publicity.

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