MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – Friday morning, Governor Kay Ivey signed an executive order to further protect religious liberty in Alabama.

Executive Order 733 ensures the enforcement of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment. The amendment was ratified in 1998 in response to federal court decisions that were viewed as hostile to the free exercise of religion.

“Religious freedom is the cornerstone of the American way of life, and as governor, I will always protect the rights of Alabamians and ensure they are free to exercise their beliefs as provided in the Constitution,” said Gov. Ivey. “As I have promised, under my watch, our state government will always reflect the values of our people.”

The new order sets out several well-established legal principles that provide religious liberties for professionals and businesses that hold a government license, state contractors, grant recipients, recipients of government benefits and state employees.

For example, one provision that is cited in the amendment requires agencies to allow state employees to express their faith to the same extent that they allow employee expression that is not religious in nature.

Recently, Gov. Ivey met with the Oakwood Academy boy’s basketball team after they were forced to forfeit their playoff game. The team, observant Seventh-Day Adventists, observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association policy that had forced the team to forfeit initially has since been amended to accommodate faith-based schedule requests.