For Immediate Release
Sam Gerard, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 105
(Washington, DC, March 11, 2020)— In a Supreme Court brief filed today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) asked the high court to limit the ability of religious employers to discriminate against their employees.
The AHA co-signed an amicus brief with the Center for Inquiry and American Atheists in supporting the respondents in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru at the Supreme Court, which is scheduled for argument on April 1, 2020.
AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller commented, “We are urging the Supreme Court to interpret the ministerial exception narrowly as the First Amendment requires.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe School was consolidated with another ministerial exemption case, St. James School v. Biel. In these cases, employers, both Catholic schools, argue that the First Amendment’s religious clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims based on the fact that the employee and employer functioned as “ministers” in their roles. AHA and other nontheist groups argue in the brief that the Court must reject “sweeping ‘ecclesiastical immunity’ that grants religious organizations, religious non-profits, and even religious owned for-profit corporations the right to ignore the rules that Congress has put in place to defend the fundamental constitutional notion of equality of opportunity.”
AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt emphasized: “Faith isn’t an excuse to discriminate. I sincerely hope that the Court, in deliberating on this case, recognizes that obeying civil rights law is not optional in a fair and just society.”
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The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.