Current Law: Fla. Stat. § 761.01-05 (1998)

Enacted: June 17, 1998

§ 761.01. Short title

This act may be cited as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998.”


S. 1, ch. 98-412.

§ 761.02. Definitions

  • As used in this act:
    • (1)  “Government” or “state” includes any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official or other person acting under color of law of the state, a county, special district, municipality, or any other subdivision of the state.
    • (2)  “Demonstrates” means to meet the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
    • (3)  “Exercise of religion” means an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

§ 761.03. Free exercise of religion protected

  • (1)  The government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
    • (a)  Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    • (b)  Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
  • (2)  A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief.


S. 3, ch. 98-412.

§ 761.04. Attorney’s fees and costs

The prevailing plaintiff in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this act is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to be paid by the government.


S. 4, ch. 98-412.

§ 761.05. Applicability; construction

  • (1)  This act applies to all state law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the enactment of this act.
  • (2)  State law adopted after the date of the enactment of this act is subject to this act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this act.
  • (3)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the government to burden any religious belief.
  • (4)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to circumvent the provisions of chapter 893.
  • (5)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of s. 3, Art. I of the State Constitution prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion.
  • (6)  Nothing in this act shall create any rights by an employee against an employer if the employer is not a governmental agency.


S. 5, ch. 98-412.

Don Byrd, Proposed RFRA Amendment in Florida Offers Broad Immunity, Baptist Joint Committee

Rfra is bad enough without this license to discriminate

Lisa Robbins, Some clerks ax nuptials so they won't have to marry gays, USA Today

Clerks in at least five Florida counties say they'll end courthouse weddings for everyone so they won't have to marry same-sex couples starting next week.

Crawford: Freedom of religion already is protected

The First Amendment works.