Written by Don Byrd
By a 19-16 margin, the State Senate in Maine today rejected a bill that would have prohibited the state government from placing any burden on religious exercise unless required to achieve a compelling government interest. Similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) this bill departs significantly from that law by not requiring the burden on a person’s religious exercise to be “substantial” before triggering this threshold.
It also defines a person as “an individual, corporate body or religious organization. An effort in the Senate to bring the Maine proposal in line with the federal law was defeated.
The federal RFRA is the law at the center of the contraception mandate controversy involving Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. The US Supreme Court has scheduled arguments in those cases for next month.
You can read the Maine bill, LD 1428, here.