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Domestic Religious Liberty Policy Proposals for

Incoming Administration
Initial Recommendations from Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Advisory Council

Marriage and Human Sexuality:

Issue an Executive Order protecting persons from discrimination by the federal government
on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman (this executive
order could model the protections in the First Amendment Defense Act).
Call for passage of the First Amendment Defense Act.

Rescind Executive Order 13672, which had (without adequate religious exemptions)
required certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation
and gender identity. In the alternative, create significantly larger and robust exemptions for
religious organizations and businesses falling under the authority of Executive Order
Direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting sex to include sexual orientation and/or
gender identity where the term sex refers to a protected class in federal law. Prioritize
this effort at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Education,
Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Housing and Urban

HHS Contraception Mandate and Conscience Protections:

Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate its requirement that all
employers include coverage for [a]ll Food and Drug Administration . . . approved
contraceptive methods [and] sterilization procedures as part of the minimal essential
coverage they are required to provide by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In
the alternative, direct HHS to exempt entirely all employers who object for moral or
religious reasons to the contraception mandate, in the same way that HHS has already
exempted churches and certain religious organizations.
Rescind the overly narrow healthcare conscience rights protections implemented by
President Obama through the Department of Health and Human Services, and either
reinstate the Bush Administration conscience protection regulations or issue similarly
protective regulations as needed.


Require service chiefs to fully update and revise their regulations protecting the free
exercise of religion to ensure they properly reflect a robust, constitutional understanding of
free exercise, and the religious liberty protections in the 2013 and 2014 National Defense
Authorization Acts (which are reflected in DOD Instruction 1300.17). These updates and
revisions should also include guidance outlining the robust religious freedom and free


speech rights of chaplains, as not bound by the limits on public employees making
statement pursuant to their official duties.

Require that service chiefs implement programs to proactively educate commanders,

chaplains, and JAG officers about these regulations once updated.

Expand the protections Congress afforded to chaplains in FY13 and FY14 NDAA
amendments to apply equally to all service members.

Direct the IRS to review all of its current guidance regarding religious organizations and 26
U.S.C. 501(c)3, and issue clarifying guidance regarding the extent to which religious
organizations and religious leaders are able to engage in speech regarding political issues
and political candidates in accord with their robust free speech rights as protected by the
First Amendment, and the extent to which they may engage in political activities.

Role of Faith in the Public Square:

Rescind Executive Orders 13498 and 13559, which limit the types of partnerships the
federal government can maintain with private faith-based groups.

Issue guidance through appropriate federal agencies regarding the constitutionality of

monuments, memorials, and other public displays of faith.

Conduct a review of all federal agency guidance regarding Establishment Clause issues, and
when appropriate, revise such guidance to set forth a policy of relying on the coercion test
when interpreting constitutionality under the Establishment Clause.


Review and clarify existing Department of Education guidance on prayer at school to ensure
it adequately explains the rights of students, teachers, and other school employees to live
out their faith. Explain the legal difference between government speech and private speech
in the public school setting.
Issue guidance through the Department of Education regarding the rights of students and
teachers under the Equal Access Act.