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Catholics Urge Congress to Protect the Conscience Rights of DC Residents

March 23, 2015

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ demand that Congress should oppose the District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act and Human Rights Amendment Act flies in the face of our Catholic values.

“Catholics believe that religious liberty rights belong in the hands of individuals, not institutions,” said Glenn Northern, domestic program senior associate. “We believe all individuals must be able to make conscience-based decisions without interference from their employers, healthcare providers or schools, no matter where they live. The bishops and their ultraconservative allies want a license to discriminate against workers and LGBT individuals. Allowing some institutions or businesses to oppose individual rights through special rules and exemptions is anathema to our Catholic tradition of social justice.” Recent polling of Catholic voters shows that:

  • Two-thirds (67 percent) reject the right of employers to deny insurance coverage of birth control for employees and their dependents based on employers’ religious beliefs
  • Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Catholics disapprove of a law that would allow a business to deny services to employees or customers on the basis of sexual orientation due to an owner’s religious beliefs
  • Three-fourths of Catholics (72 percent) believe health insurance policies, be they private or government-run, should cover contraception

“It is clear that the majority of Catholics support the rights of conscience, religious liberty and human dignity for all,” said Glenn Northern. “We urge Congress to speak up and protect the rights of individuals and oppose any effort in Congress that would prevent the two bills recently passed by the DC Council from taking effect.”