With this electoral realignment as the backdrop, the Democratic Party has grown more assertive in challenging religious-liberty defenses against other civic rights—even as Republicans have grown more adamant in embracing them…
When House Democrats passed their sweeping 2019 Equality Act, which would ban discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and other arenas, they specifically barred the use of RFRA as a defense against its requirements. During the campaign, Biden pledged to roll back the use of religious defenses against equal treatment for LGBTQ Americans, and Senator Kamala Harris, now the vice president-elect, has introduced legislation to more comprehensively curb the law’s impact.
Simultaneously, the movement from the Supreme Court’s Republican appointees is in exactly the opposite direction—toward widening religious protections and exemptions in decisions that rely on the RFRA law or the First Amendment’s protection of religion, or both. Some conservatives are hopeful that the Court eventually will undo even the 1990 Scalia decision, and vastly widen the opportunities for groups to claim religious exemptions from civil laws.
Laser says it’s impossible to predict how far the Court may take its religious-liberty drive, given that at least some of the justices appear influenced by the same anxiety about the eroding social position of Christians, especially white Christians, that helped power Trump’s political movement.