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.”

History

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.

History

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.

History

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.

History

S. 5, ch. 98-412.

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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.