The Louisiana legislature is currently considering a bill that would further extend its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to forbid state agencies from punishing people or institutions for acting on their beliefs about marriage. Over 50 American Orthodox rabbis signed a letter in support of the measure; Gil Student explains why he joined them:
Imagine a kosher caterer that is sued for refusing to serve at a wedding on the Sabbath or a wedding-hall owner who is sued for refusing to rent the premises for an interfaith wedding. Many people interpret Jewish tradition as allowing these activities. But the government should never serve in the . . . role [of] telling people what their religion allows and forbids. No Jew, no American, should be forced to violate his deeply held religious convictions.
All people, especially minorities, need their rights protected. Ideally, when conflicts emerge between the rights of different minorities, compromises can be found that respect everyone’s needs. Alternative arrangements can often be found. However, we need laws to address those difficult cases that defy compromise. . . .
[America] must allow religion to flourish, because religious communities built this country into the great power that it is. Religious communities support the poor, provide healthy social frameworks for families, and encourage social activism.