RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT (RFRA)


Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb (1993), a person who alleges that his or her rights of free exercise of religion have been violated may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief--including injunctive relief--against a governmental entity. See 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1(c). See also Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F.Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994); Western Presbyterian Church v. Board of Zoning Adjustment of District of Columbia, 849 F.Supp. 77 (D.D.C. 1994). RFRA provides: "(a) Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section. (b) Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person -- o (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and o (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (c) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government."





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