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GOP Aims to Stop Bills That Violate Religious Beliefs in DC

By    |   Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:42 PM

Some members of the Republican Party are banding together to stop two bills that would force organizations to go against their religious beliefs in making business decisions in the nation's capital.

According to The Daily Signal, the proposed bills would infringe on the religious freedoms of businesses.

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act would "ensure that individuals are protected from discrimination by an employer, employment agency, or labor organization, based on an individual's or dependent's reproductive health decisions" in the District of Columbia.

The other piece of legislation, called the Human Rights Amendment Act, would stop religious-affiliated schools from discriminating against gay and lesbian student groups in the nation's capital.

Both bills are meeting fierce opposition in Congress.

"This coercive measure would ban pro-life organizations in D.C. from even considering a job seeker's views on abortion as a condition of employment," Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said, according to The Daily Signal.

"I hope both chambers of Congress will act swiftly to pass our resolution so that we can stop this ill-conceived law and restore needed protections for those in the pro-life community who call D.C. home," she said.

Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, is leading the charge to stop the second proposal from moving through the legislative process.

"By passing this act, the D.C. City Council has infringed on the fundamental right of religious freedom," Hartzler told The Daily Signal. "Americans are protected by the Constitution from being forced by their government to take actions that go against their religious beliefs. Forcing religious schools to go against their beliefs goes directly against our Constitution and shouldn't be allowed."

Also taking a stand against the two bills is the Republican Study Committee, which has 170 members.

"It is unconscionable that employers should be forced to pay for policies that go against their deeply held religious beliefs, yet that is exactly what the District of Columbia's legislation would do," Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said, The Daily Signal reports.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a D.C. Democrat, backs both measures. In a press release Tuesday, she countered Republicans' claims that the bills are unconstitutional.

"An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal healthcare decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution," Norton said. "Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work-related, and are no business of an employer."

In related news, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said this week he would not support changing his state's laws to require a Catholic high school to hire a gay teacher.

Branstad's comments came after a substitute teacher and volunteer coach at Dowling Catholic High School was denied a full-time job at the institution when it was revealed on social media that he was gay.

"My heart goes out to both the individual involved and to the school," Branstad said.

"These are difficult matters, and I do think everybody should be treated with respect and dignity. But I also understand why churches and religious-affiliated schools feel that they should be able to have hiring practices that fit with the tenets of their faith."

The results of a national poll, meanwhile, showed that public support for gay marriage has increased in every state and the District of Columbia since 2004.

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Some members of the Republican Party are banding together to stop two bills that would force organizations to go against their religious beliefs in making business decisions in the nation's capital.
GOP, bills, D.C., religious, beliefs
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:42 PM
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