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Religious freedom

Polk County Democratic Women’s Club to host Lakeland walk, rally

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The Democratic Women’s Club of East Polk County will sponsor a walk and rally at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland 5-6:30 p.m., Sunday, which it says is to emphasize women’s and social rights. Karen Welzel, president of the club, said the rally followed by the march around the lake is “to give a voice to groups and individuals feeling marginalized and attacked during this election cycle, and to bring to the forefront issues of importance to women.” Among those issues,…

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Christian school sues over state’s ban on prayer over PA systems

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A Christian school in Tampa is suing the state’s high-school athletics oversight body over its ban on pre-game prayer broadcast over loudspeakers. Cambridge Christian School filed its suit Tuesday against the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) in federal court. The lawsuit says the association violated the school’s constitutional right to religious speech. The school says the FHSAA “refused to allow the school to offer a prayer over the loudspeaker before the Division 2A state championship football game in December 2015,” according to a press…

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Rick Scott signs the ‘Pastor Protection’ bill into law

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A controversial bill that shields clergy members who refuse to perform gay marriages is now law. The so-called pastor protection act was one of more than two dozen bills Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Thursday. Rep. Scott Plakon, the House sponsor, said earlier this month the proposal offered protections to pastors that have concerns about gay marriage. The law protects clergy, churches and religious organizations and their employees from civil action for refusing to perform gay marriages. Plakon has…

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American Bridge slams Marco Rubio for link to “religious freedom” bills

in 2017/Top Headlines by

A liberal opposition research group blasted 2016 presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for his connection to “religious freedom” bills filed in the Florida and Arkansas legislatures. American Bridge PAC singled out the Miami Republican for his relationship with District 74 Republican Rep. Julio Gonzalez, who last week filed HB 401, which would allow adoption agencies to not place children with couples whose lifestyle is “contrary to the religious or moral convictions” of the agency. American Bridge decried Gonzalez’s…

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‘Religious freedom’ bill to prevent gay adoptions refiled for 2016

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State Rep. Julio Gonzalez filed his first bill of the 2016 legislative year on Wednesday, and it was a doozy: a proposal to give immunity to certain businesses who wish not to render certain services on grounds of “religious freedom,” including private child-placement agencies. Specifically, the bill amends the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998 to read that an entity owned by a religious institution is “not required to produce, create, or deliver a custom product or service that would be contrary…

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