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Sen. Cruz: Religious Liberty Rights Should Not End at the Potomac

Introduces joint resolutions to protect religious freedom in D.C.

March 18, 2015

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today introduced two joint resolutions to overturn recently enacted D.C. Council legislation that undermines religious liberty.

"The D.C. Council is attempting to force religious institutions to provide services, make employment decisions, or participate in activities that directly violate their faith," said Sen. Cruz. "No government entity should be able to coerce organizations - whether they be non-profits or religious schools - into funding abortion services or promoting gender policy that is contrary to the organization's fundamental mission.

"D.C.'s legislation would require pro-life organizations to fund abortions. It would require Catholic schools to pay for abortions, in direct contravention of their faith. That is wrong, and unconstitutional. Despite pending legislation that might provide a temporary exemption limited to insurance coverage, the D.C. Council is ultimately telling institutions within the District that a day will come when they must make the intolerable choice between complying with the law and abiding by their religious convictions. Rather than discriminating against pro-life and religious organizations, D.C. should welcome diversity of thought and protect the freedom of conscience. We must stop this assault on the Catholic Church, and we must act to protect religious liberty. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee the nation's capital, and I urge my colleagues in both houses to pass this resolution and affirm the First Amendment rights of all citizens."

In January, the District enacted the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, which could require employers to provide health plans that cover abortion services, and the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which could force religious schools to support activities that violate the tenets of their faith.

Under the Home Rule Act, all legislation passed by the D.C. Council must first be transmitted to Congress for a period of review. If both houses pass a resolution of disapproval that is signed by the President, the legislation in question will not become law. Unless the 114th Congress acts, the tentative enactment date of these bills is April 17, 2015.

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