(775 ILCS 35/10)
Findings and purposes.
(a) The General Assembly finds the following:
(1) The free exercise of religion is an inherent,
fundamental, and inalienable right secured by Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois.
(2) Laws "neutral" toward religion, as well as laws
intended to interfere with the exercise of religion, may burden the exercise of religion.
(3) Government should not substantially burden the
exercise of religion without compelling justification.
(4) In Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872
(1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that government justify burdens on the exercise of religion imposed by laws neutral toward religion.
(5) In City of Boerne v. P. F. Flores, 65 LW 4612
(1997) the Supreme Court held that an Act passed by Congress to address the matter of burdens placed on the exercise of religion infringed on the legislative powers reserved to the states under the Constitution of the United States.
(6) The compelling interest test, as set forth in
Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing governmental interests.
(b) The purposes of this Act are as follows:
(1) To restore the compelling interest test as set
forth in Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), and to guarantee that a test of compelling governmental interest will be imposed on all State and local (including home rule unit) laws, ordinances, policies, procedures, practices, and governmental actions in all cases in which the free exercise of religion is substantially burdened.
(2) To provide a claim or defense to persons whose
exercise of religion is substantially burdened by government.
(Source: P.A. 90-806, eff. 12-2-98.)