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Authors

Martha Minow

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Should a private, religious university lose its tax-exempt status because it bans interracial dating? Should a religious school fire a pregnant married teacher on religious grounds despite the ban against gender discrimination in employment? Should a religious social service agency be exempt from a state regulation banning discrimination in the delivery of social services on the basis of sexual orientation? This Article argues that courts and legislatures have granted and refused exemptions for religious groups from civil rights laws in response to historical social movements, producing the differential treatment of race, gender, and sexual orientation laws. This Article identifies avenues, informed by virtue ethics and value-added negotiation, for negotiating solutions other than full exemptions or no exemptions. Pursuing productive stances toward clashes over religious exemption claims is highly relevant to sustaining and replenishing both American pluralism and constitutional protections for minority groups.

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