An Act To Protect Religious Freedom
Sec. 1. 1 MRSA c. 33 is enacted to read:
PRESERVATION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT
§ 2701. Short title
This chapter may be known and cited as "the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act."
§ 2702. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 2703. Exercise of religion protected
A government may not burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a facially neutral law or rule or a law or rule of general applicability, unless the government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.
§ 2704. Action in court
§ 2705. Exceptions; authorizations; application
§ 2706. Construction
The protections of this chapter are in addition to the protections granted by federal law, the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Maine. This chapter does not affect the grant of benefits or tax exemptions to a religious organization. This chapter does not affect, interpret or in any way address those portions of the United States Constitution, Amendment I or the Constitution of Maine that prohibit laws respecting the establishment of religion. This chapter does not create or preclude a right of a religious organization to receive funding or other assistance from a government or of a person to receive government funding for a religious activity.
This bill creates the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, which allows a person whose right to exercise the person's religion is burdened by a government law or exercise of authority to bring an action in court seeking equitable or monetary damages unless the government remedies the burden or shows that the law or exercise of authority is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest.