Restrictions on Religious Beliefs Overturned in Kerlile

The Council’s ban on belief in religions deemed ‘patriarchal’ has been overturned today in what reformists are calling a ‘landmark decision’ on loosening restrictions on beliefs and speech in the Matriarchy. The decision comes after a court battle started by a coalition of legal religious groups in 2019 claiming that restrictions on what people can believe are illegal under the Founding Documents of Kerlile.

The Kerlian Supreme Court today ruled, with the permission of the Council, that the restrictions on belief are in fact not allowed, as policing thought rather than actions was forbidden by the Founders of Kerlile. This ruling means that it is no longer illegal in Kerlile to worship certain religions including Christianity and Islam. Restrictions do, however, remain on publicly advertising religious services for religions on the Patriarchal Religions List, on recruitment by these religions, and on forcing children to attend services.

A guidebook on what is, and is not, allowed for followers of religions on the list has been issued immediately by the Government of Kerlile. It states that children attending services must be able to give informed consent to choose to attend, with the default minimum age for attendance being fourteen, unless someone younger can prove they fully understand the risk of exposure to patriarchal ideas. Adults regardless of gender are able to attend whatever services they choose.

Religious institutions from list religions will also be subject to restrictions on advertising and public preaching; premises for these religions will have restrictions on the size of signs denoting their presence and street preaching will be prohibited. Services must be conducted indoors where only consenting attendees can hear. Public property cannot be used for these services, but they can take place on any private property. Celebrations of religious festivals will be allowed, provided they take place in private.

The new ruling will not affect religions which are not listed, all of which are legal by default and there have been no changes to the laws governing previously legal religions. As previously, religious marriage ceremonies may take place, but will not be recognised under Kerlian law unless the couple also applies for a civil marriage certificate and abides by the laws of Kerlile regarding naming and financial customs.

These changes take effect immediately, though it is expected to take several months for previously banned religious institutions to set up legal places of worship and gather consenting congregations from the local area without any overt advertising. Organisers of previously-operating underground religions institutions have been granted an amnesty by the Council following a contentious 5-4 vote.

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