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Oklahoma Religious Freedom Restoration Act

This law was last updated on Dec 12, 2016


State

Oklahoma

Number

Okla. Stat. tit. 51, §251, et seq.

Status

Current

Topics

LGBTQ, Religious Freedom, RFRA

Full Bill Text

essexuu.org

Oklahoma’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits the government substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

The law provides additional clarification for “compelling state interest” when it comes to correctional facility regulation. In this case, the facility must demonstrate that the religious activity sought to be engaged by a prisoner is presumptively dangerous to the health or safety of that prisoner; or it poses a direct threat to the health, safety, or security of other prisoners, staff, or public.

The law specifies that it does not authorize any government entity to substantially burden any religious belief, nor does it authorize same sex marriages or unions.

Any person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened by a governmental entity in violation of this provision may assert that violation as a claim or defense in any judicial or administrative proceeding and may obtain declaratory relief or monetary damages. If the person prevails in a case against the government, they may also recover reasonable costs and attorney fees.

The amendment does not allow religious freedom to be raised as a defense in lawsuits between private citizens and therefore tracks the federal RFRA.