Montana governor signs bill providing vital protection for exercise of religious freedom
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp regarding Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s decision Thursday to sign Senate Bill 215, a bill that ensures that Montanans are free to live and work according to their faith without fear of unjust government punishment:
“Citizens should not be left defenseless when their government attempts to burden their ability to live and worship according to their faith. This law provides a sensible balancing test for courts to use when reviewing government policies that infringe upon the religious freedom rights of Montanans. The law doesn’t automatically decide who will win every disagreement, but it does ensure that every Montanan—regardless of belief system or political power—receives a fair hearing when government action forces a person to violate his or her religious beliefs. We commend Sen. Carl Glimm, the Montana Legislature, and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras for supporting this bill, and we thank Gov. Gianforte for signing it into law, ensuring that freedom of religion is protected for all Montanans.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Matt Sharp serves as senior counsel and state government relations national director with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on state and local legislative matters. Since joining ADF in 2010, Sharp has authored federal and state legislation, regularly provides testimony and legal analysis on how proposed legislation will impact constitutional freedoms, and advises governors, legislators, and state and national policy organizations on the importance of laws and policies that protect First Amendment rights. He has testified before the United States Congress on the importance of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Sharp has also worked on important cases advancing religious freedom and free speech. He has won cases upholding the rights of students to form religious clubs, invite classmates to church, and even perform a religious song at a school talent show. He authored an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of nearly 9,000 students, parents, and community members asking the Court to uphold students’ right to privacy against government intrusion. Sharp earned his J.D. in 2006 from the Vanderbilt University School of Law. A member of the bar in Georgia and Tennessee, he is also admitted to practice in several federal courts.