Letter: Don’t Vote for Discrimination

Dear Editor:

Measure 3, at first glance seems like a winner– who wouldn’t “Vote YES for Religious Freedom”?

Looking closer at Measure 3, voting yes is a bad idea. A creation of the Catholic Dioceses of North Dakota, Measure 3 would reward religious institutions and individuals who deny basic services we are entitled to under US law and reinforce discrimination based on religious beliefs.

Under Measure 3 the “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty”– but our freedom of religion is already guaranteed under our Bill of Rights.

Measure 3 would prevent the government from legally “withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities” from a person or a religious organization that chooses to “act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief”.

This means that Measure 3 would require government support of a religious organization or person who cites religious belief as justification for discrimination and denial of basic services and equal treatment.

Religious institutions cannot have it both ways. Under the US Constitution, religious institutions already have the right to discriminate and deny services on the basis of religious belief. These institutions cannot then also insist upon receiving funding and other support from the government, if they are unwilling to provide programs, services and equal treatment we are otherwise entitled to under current US law.

Measure 3 would have us as taxpayers subside religious institutions’ discrimination. Vote no on Measure 3.

Renee Gopal
Ashley, ND

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