MONTGOMERY, Alabama (LifeSiteNews) — Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed an executive order on Friday, January 20 ensuring the enforcement of the state’s Religious Freedom Amendment.
The 1998 amendment to Alabama’s state constitution guarantees all individuals and businesses freedom from government coercion that would violate one’s religious beliefs.
“As I have promised, under my watch, our state government will always reflect the values of our people,” Ivey declared. “Religious freedom is the cornerstone of the American way of life, and as governor, I will always protect the rights of Alabamians and ensure they are free to exercise their beliefs as provided in the Constitution.”
Donald Carson, communications director for the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, praised the new safeguard to religious liberty. Speaking on behalf of the diocese, he told Catholic News Agency, “Catholics in the Diocese of Birmingham, which covers central and northern Alabama, are blessed to live and work in this state with such strong affirmation of religious freedom.”
To date, 23 states have added religious freedom amendments to their constitution after the overruling of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by a federal court in 1997.
Becket, a religious liberty law firm, affirmed that state-level RFRAs “level the playing field in court for people of deeply held religious convictions.”
The executive order comes as the state ramps up its pro-life laws as well. Alabama’s attorney general recently declared that the law against “chemical endangerment” is applicable to those who obtain abortion drugs through the mail or a local pharmacy. The AG said that Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act “does not provide an across-the-board exemption from all criminal laws, including the chemical-endangerment law — which the Alabama Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed protects unborn children.”
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