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Davis v. Wigen, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 20133 (3d Cir. August 4, 2023) (Smith, C.J.) Plaintiff-Appellants are a former federal inmate, Brian Davis, and his fiancée, Fredricka Beckford. Davis served four years of his sentence at Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, a private prison that primarily houses alien inmates. During that time, he submitted a request to the prison that he be permitted to marry Beckford. Moshannon Valley officials denied the request despite Davis’s contention that he met all requirements under the prison’s marriage policy. Plaintiffs filed suit and now appeal the dismissal of three claims: (1) a claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1; (2) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985; and (3) a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. We conclude that Plaintiffs have stated a RFRA claim, but that their other two claims fail. Accordingly, we will vacate the District Court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ RFRA claim and affirm the remainder of the Court’s order. RFRA provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(a). The statute defines “exercise of religion” as the term is defined in the RLUIPA. Id. § 2000bb-2(4). RLUIPA defines “religious exercise” as including “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” Id. § 2000cc-5(7)(A). Finally, these statutes must be “construed in favor of a broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter and the Constitution.” Id. § 2000cc-3(g); Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, 573 U.S. 682, 696, 134 S. Ct. 2751, 189 L. Ed. 2d 675 & n.5 (2014) (explaining that this rule of construction applies to both RLUIPA and RFRA). Plaintiffs here raise a question that we have not previously addressed: whether an individual suffers a substantial burden on religious exercise when the particular religious exercise is not mandatory. Defendants contend the answer is no because under Klem, a burden is only “substantial” if it causes Plaintiffs to violate the precepts of their religion or mandatory religious beliefs. See Klem, 467 F.3d at 280. Because neither Christian tradition nor doctrine requires adherents to marry, Defendants argue that the denial of Plaintiffs’ marriage request did not cause them to violate any religious precept or belief. Although such a read of our Klem opinion is not unreasonable, we cannot agree that Klem’s reach is so limited. Here, Plaintiffs desired to marry because marriage “had profound religious significance for them” and because they “viewed their marriage as an expression of” their Christian faith. Although marriage may not be required of every Christian, Plaintiffs allege that their desire to marry has significant religious meaning for them. They contend that marriage is an expression of their faith. By denying Plaintiffs’ marriage request, Defendants caused them to refrain from such religious expression and thereby “violate their beliefs.” See Klem, 497 F.3d at 280. There can hardly be a more substantial burden on a religious practice or exercise than its outright prohibition. See Haight v. Thompson, 763 F.3d 554, 565 (6th Cir. 2014) (“The greater restriction (barring access to the practice) includes the lesser one (substantially burdening the practice).”). While not every government-imposed hurdle to the practice of sincere faith-based conduct will be a substantial burden, the more proximate the government action is to an outright bar, the more likely it is a substantial burden. We conclude, therefore, that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged a substantial burden on their religious beliefs. By operating a prison containing federal inmates, GEO Group and Wigen acted as “instrumentalities” of the federal government. Moreover, this Court already held in Plaintiffs’ previous appeal that the GEO Defendants were federal actors for purposes of Plaintiffs’ Bivens claim. Davis, 962 F.3d at 112. Defendants have identified no meaningful distinction between the state action doctrine and RFRA’s definition of “government” such that the GEO Defendants could be subject to liability pursuant to Bivens but not for a RFRA claim. We conclude that RFRA applies to the GEO Defendants. The Federal Defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity as to Plaintiffs’ RFRA claim because the law was not clearly established when Moshannon Valley denied Davis’s marriage request. As we have acknowledged, Defendants’ and the District Court’s read of Klem was not unreasonable. So, in light of our articulation of the test in Klem, we cannot conclude that it was clearly established that a prison imposes a substantial burden on its inmates by prohibiting participation in non-mandatory religious conduct. The Federal Defendants are therefore entitled to qualified immunity as to Plaintiffs’ RFRA claim. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S. Ct. 2727, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396 (1982) (holding that qualified immunity protects government officials performing discretionary functions “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known”). We conclude, therefore, that Davis has failed to state a § 1985(3) claim. We leave for another day the important question of whether § 1985(3) protects alienage. We will affirm the dismissal of Beckford’s IIED claim, but for a different reason than that stated by the District Court. To state a claim for IIED under Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff must allege “intentional outrageous or extreme conduct by the defendant, which causes severe emotional distress to the plaintiff” and “some type of resulting physical harm due to the defendant’s conduct.” Swisher v. Pitz, 2005 PA Super 56, 868 A.2d 1228, 1230 (Pa. Super. 2005) (quoting Reeves v. Middletown Athletic Ass’n, 2004 PA Super 475, 866 A.2d 1115, 1122 (Pa. Super. 2004)). We will vacate in part and affirm in part. We will vacate the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ RFRA claim, affirm the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ § 1985(3) claim and the dismissal of Beckford’s IIED claim, and remand to the District Court for further proceedings consistent with the foregoing opinion.