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Senators Lankford, Cruz Introduce Resolutions to Protect Religious Freedom of Washington D.C. Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC— Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today introduced two resolutions (S.J. Res. 10 and S.J. Res. 11) to overturn recently enacted D.C. Council legislation that undermines religious freedom. 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 would force religious schools to support activities that violate the tenets of their faith.

“What the D.C. Council has done is a major threat to the fundamental right to religious freedom for D.C. residents and organizations, and a brazen display of intolerance,” said Lankford. “The Constitution provides that all Americans enjoy the right to live a life in accordance with their convictions of faith. Limiting religious practice to a church building is a weekend hobby, not a personal faith. The First Amendment is first for a reason – it cannot be ignored by the D.C. City Council.

“Last summer’s Supreme Court decision affirmed the right to live and work in accordance with your convictions. In America, a person can choose a lifestyle of any faith or no faith at all – that’s religious freedom. Washington D.C. residents and organizations shouldn’t be discriminated from enjoying those same rights.”

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, these measures that violate D.C. citizens’ basic religious freedom rights are set to become law on April 17, 2015.

Lankford serves as Chairman of the of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, which has jurisdiction over The District of Columbia.