Monday, February 09, 2015

Catholic and Conservative Christian Groups Urge Congressional Disapproval of Two D.C. Ordinances

Under Title VI of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, Congress may disapprove laws enacted by the D.C. City Council.  Last week, fifteen Catholic and conservative Christian organizations sent a letter (full text) to members of Congress urging disapproval of two recently enacted D.C. laws-- the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 and Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (see prior posting). According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops press release:
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 prevents religious institutions, faith-based employers, and pro-life advocacy organizations in the city from making employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions about the sanctity of human life.  
For example, the law requires “organizations to hire or retain individuals whose speech or public conduct contradicts the organizations’ missions,” the letter stated. “The law plainly violates the First Amendment, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), and possibly other federal laws and clearly contradicts the Supreme Court’s recent, unanimous ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School v. EEOC.”  
Another law enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, requires religiously affiliated educational institutions to endorse, sponsor, and provide school resources to persons or groups that oppose the institutions’ religious teachings regarding human sexuality. 
“In doing so, the law violates the First Amendment and RFRA on similar grounds”....