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What religious freedom is—and isn’t

Religious beliefs are not a license to discriminate.


In recent years, our opponents have weaponized religious freedom: they argue their religious beliefs exempt them from laws and policies that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, women, people of different faiths, and people living with HIV. 

Religious freedom is a core American value, but it does not mean that our government can favor believers over nonbelievers or certain religions over others. We are all entitled to equal protection under the law—and that’s why Lambda Legal stands up to this misuse of religion in the courts and through education and policy advocacy.

Cases on religious exemptions.


Fast Facts

1 in 5

The number of LGBTQ+ Americans who live in a state that lets medical professionals deny them procedures or services because of who they are.


The number of LGBTQ+ Americans who live in a state that allows faith-based child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with them

3 in 4

The number of hospital patients who believe their decisions should be followed, consistent with medical standards of care, over a healthcare center’s religious restrictions.

Your rights

Explore our collection of resources to learn more about religious exemptions. Have a specific question that’s not answered below? Visit our Help Desk.