WASHINGTON (May. 11)
A bill that would make it harder for the government to encroach on free exercise of religion cleared the House of Representatives this week, much to the satisfaction of Jewish organizations.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was approved Tuesday in a unanimous voice vote.
“This is the most important vote for religious freedom we will see in our lifetime,” a jubilant Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in a statement.
Supported by a broad coalition of Jewish and other religious groups, the bill is designed to circumvent a 1990 Supreme Court ruling that gave states greater leeway in outlawing certain religious practices.
Supporters of the legislation are now awaiting an upcoming vote on the Senate floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15-1 last week to send the bill to the full chamber.
President Clinton is expected to sign the bill into law if it clears Congress.