April 29, 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 tomorrow’s scheduled vote on House Joint Resolution 43 disapproving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) by the U.S. House of Representatives.
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 having advocated for our constitutional freedoms throughout the legislative process at the local level, the District of Columbia Council disregarded these concerns, forcing the archdiocese to appeal to the U.S. Congress to restore these freedoms through the only legislative recourse that remained.
The archdiocese is hopeful that the House will pass H.J. Res. 43 and stand up for freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association in our nation’s capital.
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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