New Democracy Maps

Talking About Religious Exemptions

The Bottom Line

Newly Updated for 2019. Talking About Religious Exemptions is a guide to building effective conversations about the ways in which harmful religious exemptions threaten public safety, access to health care (including women's reproductive health), the best interests of children in state care, laws protecting Americans from discrimination, and more.

The guide offers approaches for talking about both broad religious exemptions laws (like proposed state RFRAs) as well as religious exemptions intended to encourage adoption and foster care discrimination and service discrimination—elevating effective discussions about the ways these harmful exemptions can be used to deny children loving forever homes; encourage discrimination against LGBT people, religious minorities, people of color, women and others; threaten health care and women’s reproductive health; and put the rule of law itself at risk.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. May 2019. "Talking About Religious Exemptions." 2019 Edition. MAP's Talking About LGBT Issues Series.

Stay Informed

Be the first to know about new reports and MAP news by signing up for our newsletter

Request User Access

A limited set of materials is restricted to the staff and board members of LGBTQ movement organizations. Click below to request user access.

Join MAP

View our privacy policy.

Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

Choose an Issue

Choose an Issue