2023 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 28 - Human Rights
Article 22 - Religious Freedom Restoration
Section 28-22-3 - Religious freedom protected; exceptions.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 28-22-3 (2023)

A government agency shall not restrict a person's free exercise of religion unless:

A. the restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability and does not directly discriminate against religion or among religions; and

B. the application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

History: Laws 2000 (2nd S.S.), ch. 17, § 3.

ANNOTATIONS

Effective dates. — Laws 2000 (2nd S.S.), ch. 17 contained no effective date provision, but, pursuant to N.M. Const., art. IV, § 23, was effective July 3, 2000, 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature.

The criminal sexual contact of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor statutes do not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. — Where defendant, who was the spiritual leader of a religious group that lived together, was convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor and of contributing to the delinquency of a minor based on unclothed experiences with two teenage children; and defendant claimed that because defendant believed that touching the children was a religious act, defendant was not guilty of committing a crime and that the criminal sexual contact of a minor statute, Section 30-9-13 NMSA 1978 and the contributing to the delinquency of a minor statute, Section 30-6-3 NMSA 1978, violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because the statutes are laws of general applicability that do not directly discriminate against or among religions, the protection of minors from sexual abuse and delinquency is a compelling governmental interest, and the statutes are the least restrictive means of achieving the government's goal of protecting minors from sexual abuse and delinquency, the statutes do not violate the act. State v. Bent, 2013-NMCA-108, cert. denied, 2013-NMCERT-012.

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