North Dakota voters weighed in on whether the state needed to bolster religious freedom in Tuesday’s statewide election.
As of 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, 50 of 426 precincts had released ballot results with 41 percent voting yes and 59 percent voting no.
By John Lamb, Forum Communications
, June 13, 2012
I was very disappointed when I read The Jamestown Sun editorial favor a “no” vote on Measure 3. The arguments that were made were the same as those we have heard on the commercials. Those arguments are simply not true.
According to the supporters of Measure 3, the “Religious Freedom” bill, we don’t have enough religious liberty. Never mind that there are already laws on the books protecting religion, both in the U.S. and North Dakota constitutions.
Why is Measure 3 needed? Measure 3 locks in the religious rights of North Dakotans. These rights would be protected from tampering unless there is a very good reason for doing so. (This is the “compelling interest test.”) The “compelling interest” standard requires government to offer a strong reason for imposing on religious conscience or religious rights.”
How should you vote on Measure 3 in the June primary? There is a simple question that you can ask yourself to determine your vote: Do I want my religious liberty to be easy for the government of North Dakota to restrict or more difficult? This is the issue at stake in Measure 3.
Last week in the newspaper I read an informative letter by former North Dakota Gov. George Sinner opposing Measure 3 concerning religious freedom. Until that letter, I was undecided, but now I know how I’ll vote: Yes.
After his letter (and TV scare ads suggesting it will legalize wife-beating, etc.), I went to Measure 3’s website. It laid out facts well, I thought, explaining what terms in the measure would mean if situations go to court after it’s in effect.
Whenever someone wants to defeat legislation they are sure to claim that proposal is “vague” and “unclear,” whether it is true or not. What is surprising, however, is that some attorneys would employ the same tactic with Measure 3.
Measure 3 amends our North Dakota Constitution to provide that if anyone in North Dakota takes an action based on a “sincerely held religious belief,” our state (for example, state’s attorney, for criminal actions, or labor commissioner, for employment discrimination) would have to prove that our state could prevent that action only if there is a “compelling governmental interest.”
A group that opposes a state constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in the June 12 primary announced its formation Wednesday.
“We all believe strongly in religious freedom, but Measure 3 is vague and confusing and just goes too far,” Tom Fiebiger, a Fargo lawyer and former state senator, said in a news release.
By Patrick Springer , Forum Communications Co.
, May 03, 2012
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