Last week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill banning child marriage without exception—a bill which would have been the first of its kind in the United States. Christie cited religious freedom as a key reason for his refusal to sign the bill.
Last week, India became the second nation this month to grant legal personhood status to a river, raising ethical and practical questions about how to regulate environmental protections.
As of Monday, March 20, the Ganges river and its main tributary, the Yamuna, will be accorded the rights and responsibilities of a living person. The rivers are the first non-human entities to be granted such a status, The Guardianreported.
Earlier this month, a St. Petersburg court dropped charges accusing a yoga instructor of illegal missionary activity. Critics of Russia’s crackdown on proselytism see the case as an example of the law’s ambiguity and ineffectiveness.
44-year-old Russian computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was arrested at the St. Petersburg “Vedalife” festival on October 22, 2016. Ugay was 40 minutes into a presentation on the spiritual principles behind the practice of yoga when police apprehended him on stage.
Last week, France’s highest court suspended a coastal village’s ban on burqa-compliant swimwear, ruling that the ban “dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
Last week, a Michigan district court ruled to dismiss charges of discrimination against a Detroit-area funeral home, citing religious freedom as legitimate grounds upon which one can fire a transgender employee.
The legal battle began in 2013, when funeral director Amiee Stephens—then known by her birth name, Anthony—presented her boss with a letter announcing her intention to begin living as a woman.