April 21, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Archdiocese of Washington, along with a coalition of religious institutions, faith-based organizations, and pro-life advocacy organizations within the District of Columbia, hails the passage of H.J. Res. 43 today by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The bill is a resolution of disapproval pertaining to the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA). RHNDA, passed and enacted by the D.C. government, would force religious institutions and other organizations to hire or retain employees who publicly act in defiance of the mission of their employer. The companion resolution of disapproval in the U.S. Senate is S.J. Res. 10.
The District of Columbia Council also passed the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA) which removes conscience protections in the law and prevents religious educational institutions from operating according to the tenets of their own faith with regard to human sexuality. The resolutions of disapproval pertaining to HRAA in the U.S. Congress are H.J. Res. 44 and S.J. Res. 11.
Both RHNDA and HRAA subjugate the Church’s moral teaching to the moral views of the government, violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and result in discrimination against religious believers.
Despite our having advocated for our constitutional rights with the District of Columbia Council throughout the legislative process, both RHNDA and HRAA were passed and the D.C. Council transmitted these two measures to the U.S. Congress on March 6, initiating a thirty-legislative-day congressional review period. The archdiocese’s appeal to the U.S. Congress to pass resolutions of disapproval to restore these constitutional rights was the only legislative recourse that remained.
The archdiocese urges the U.S. Congress to take swift action in their respective chambers on the resolutions of disapproval for both RHNDA and HRAA to protect religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association in the nation’s capital in the remaining days of the congressional review period.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi