When it was passed in 1993, the bill almost had unanimous support; three votes were against it in the Senate. It seems that our more left-leaning members on the Hill seem to think that RFRA is being used haphazardly to benefit conservatives. As Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View wrote yesterday, RFRA isn’t a “blank check:”
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not a blank check to religious groups to do what they want. The law says that the religious belief must be sincerely held, and also that the government can burden the exercise of that belief if it has a compelling state interest that cannot easily be achieved in any other way. That’s why no one has successfully started the Church of Not Paying Any Taxes, though people have been trying that dodge for years.
Congressional Democrats could pursue several options to limit the ruling. They could produce legislation removing corporations from the RFRA’s protection. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has proposed requiring public disclosure of all employers who deny their employees contraceptive coverage pursuant to the Hobby Lobby decision.
A liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress [CAP], released their own legislative proposal to place “reasonable restrictions on religious liberty protections” by adding clarifying language to the RFRA. “This section [referring to the existing statute] does not authorize exemptions that discriminate against, impose costs on, or otherwise harm others, including those who may belong to other religions and/or adhere to other beliefs.”