Oklahoma Bill Amending the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 530)
This law was last updated on Sep 11, 2018
SB 530 would amend the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act to expand certain definitions and permit religious freedom to be raised as a defense between private citizens.
The bill would amend the definition of “exercise of religion” to mean:
The practice, observance and exercise of religion under Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
The bill would amend the definition of “substantially burden” to mean:
To directly or indirectly constrain, inhibit, curtail or deny the exercise of religion by any person or compel any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion and includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties or excluding from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities.
The bill would allow a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened or is likely to be substantially burdened in violation of this act to assert such violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision is a party to the proceeding.
The amendment would allow religious freedom to be raised as a defense in lawsuits between private citizens and therefore does not track the federal RFRA.
Amends the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act.