Religious, Pro-Life Organizations Rally Against D.C. ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Bills

By Mitch Boersma Published on April 16, 2015

Conservative lawmakers in Washington and defenders of the First Amendment around the country are rallying this week to try and stop two pieces of D.C. legislation from becoming law in the nation’s capital. Kelsey Harkness reports:

One bill, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, could force pro-life employers in Washington D.C. to hire individuals whose reproductive health decisions stand in opposition to the organization’s viewpoint.

“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,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who introduced what’s called a “resolution of disapproval” on Monday that, with the support of both chambers of Congress and the president, would override the law in question.

“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.

A second bill, called the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), seeks to prohibit religious-affiliated schools from discriminating against gay and lesbian student groups.

The Archdiocese of Washington, home to 95 Catholic schools that would be affected by both pieces of legislation, has come out vocally against the bills, asking Congress to pass a resolution of disapproval:

The Archdiocese of Washington has long respected home rule for the District of Columbia and, therefore, advocated for our religious rights with the D.C. Council throughout the legislative process. Despite this, the Council passed these acts. The archdiocese’s appeal to Congress to restore these constitutional rights is the only legislative recourse that remains. The Council of the District of Columbia transmitted the new measures to Congress on March 6, initiating a thirty-legislative-day congressional review period. Last month, the U.S. Senate introduced resolutions of disapproval.

Pro-life and natural marriage organizations in D.C. warn that these bills would compel them to employ individuals who openly dissent from their core mission. They have joined individuals across the country on social media to express their disapproval under the hashtag #FreeSince1791:

 

Even if legislators succeed in passing the resolutions in Congress, they would still need President Obama’s signature to prevent the DC legislation from becoming law, a result still very much in question. 

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