Fulton, Pavez, and the future of Religious Freedom in the Americas

13 July 2021, 12:00 pm EDT (GMT-4)

What is the future of religious freedom in the Americas? This panel discussion offers expert perspectives on that question based on two recent cases: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which was recently decided in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Pavez v. Chile, which is fully argued and now awaits decision in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Both cases deal with the significant question of LGBTQ+ rights appearing to conflict with religious freedom rights. Both emphasize nondiscrimination. But the eventual trajectory of these cases may turn out to be quite distinct. What are the commonalities and differences between the cases, and what do they imply for the future of religious freedom in the hemisphere? Please join our panel of experts for a stimulating discussion.

Watch in English (to watch in Spanish click here)


Montse Alvarado

Vice President and
Executive Director
of Becket Fund for
Religious Liberty

Tomás Henríquez

Advocacy Director for the OAS and Latin America, ADF International.

Mike Lee

United States Senator (R-Utah)

Branislav Marelic

Partner, Marelic, Cárcamo, Busch; Representative of Sandra Pavez, Chile

Juan Navarro Floria

Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Panel Summary:

Two monumental cases–Fulton in the U.S. and Pavez in Chile–will play a considerable role in dictating the ways in which religious and LGBTQI rights will interact. As Juan Navarro observed, countries “should not impose a religious or moral belief on a religious institution”. Senator Mike Lee reminded us that while judicial victories in the United States are good, “[religious freedom issues] need to be addressed simultaneously through all 3 branches of government” for lasting change to occur.

North and South America are becoming increasingly secular. This trend “is concerning, but it is manageable,” Senator Lee observed. The issue is manageable as faith communities stand up for their rights. Governments must also respect the rights of religious entities. Juan Navarro explained that we need to “rescue the value of religion. Religion has to be respected for what it is, not what we want it to be. …Every religious community should have the right to teach their beliefs and live their religion.”