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Monday, March 23, 2015

Memo to DC Council: Intolerance does not advance tolerance



A provocatively entitled Washington Post news article ("Sen. Ted Cruz seeks to upend D.C. laws on contraception coverage, gay rights") suggests that recently enacted DC "laws would restrict the ability of private groups to discriminate based on religious beliefs. In fact, the laws target and discriminate against religious groups by dictating that they must hire individuals who directly contradict the groups' tenets, standards and mission.
That's a flagrant violation of First Amendment freedoms, as upheld by a unanimous Supreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor case and by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
What the ironically entitled Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014 actually does is repeal a measure that for decades had advanced tolerance by ensuring that the DC Human Rights Act could not be used to coerce religiously affiliated schools into violating convictions of conscience.
The DC Council apparently has decided, however, that there is not enough room in the District for religious dissenters who question the Council's edicts on sexual morality. Their discriminatory laws inject unconstitutional governmental coercion that subverts the democratic process of free speech and debate that historically has shaped American public opinion and values.
Intolerance does not advance tolerance.

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