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Ivey signs executive order reinforcing existing religious freedom laws

Among other things, the order specifies that employers should allow religious expression to the same extent as other personal expression.

Gov. Kay Ivey Hal Yeager/Governor's Office

Gov. Kay Ivey signed an executive order Friday that aims to reinforce the state’s existing religious freedom amendment.

“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,” Ivey said. “As I have promised, under my watch, our state government will always reflect the values of our people.”

Executive Order 733 ensures the enforcement of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment, which was proposed and ratified in 1998 as a reaction to federal court decisions viewed as hostile to the free exercise of religion.

The order specifically sets out several legal principles providing religious-liberty protections for professionals and businesses holding a government license, state contractors, grant recipients, recipients of government benefits and state employees. For example, one provision requires state executive-branch agencies to consider potential burdens on religious exercise when they adopt administrative rules. Another provision requires agencies to allow state employees to express their faith to the same extent that they allow employee expression that is not religious in nature.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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