North Dakota Religious Freedom Amendment, Measure 3 (June 2012)
|Religious Freedom Amendment|
|Constitution:||Article I, North Dakota Constitution|
|Status:||On the ballot|
According to the proposed initiative, a person's right to act or refuse due to a religious belief may not be burdened by the government unless the government proves it has a "compelling interest" in regulating behavior. The measure is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Committee.
Text of measure
The measure as it appears on the ballot reads:
This initiated constitutional measure would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating, "Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities."
YES – means you approve the measure as stated above.
NO – means you reject the measure as stated above.
|Government may not burden a person's or religious organization's religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.|
- According to the North Dakota Family Alliance website: "Measure 3 restores and preserves a person’s or organization’s religious liberty for our children and grandchildren, while respecting legitimate government interests as provided by our Founding Fathers."
- Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance stated, "To a great degree, that's really a measure of the people in government, whether it's in local government or state government, that they are discriminating against people of faith because of their religiously held beliefs. And this is an opportunity for the people of North Dakota to vote on a measure to protect those rights given to us in the First Amendment."
- The Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Committee's website says the amendment will restore standards for when the government could make mandates counter to individuals' religious beliefs that existed before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Employment Division v. Smith. According to the committee, the ruling allowed religious exercises to be protected by the First Amendment only when laws or regulations specifically targeted religion.
The following information was obtained from North Dakota Secretary of State website.
|ND Family Alliance||$10,001|
- North Dakotans Against Measure Three is the main group against the measure. According to the campaign website, "Measure 3 is so poorly written and confusing that it can open the door to endless litigation and legal wrangling, clogging our already crowded courts and costing tax payers more of their hard-earned money. We are all entitled to our own religious beliefs, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to harm other people."
- Other arguments that have been made against the measure include that freedom of religion is already a fundamental right in the United States; broad ballot language could lead to a rise in domestic violence because a person could claim that the country's laws don’t apply because some religions allow the discipline of wives and children as seen fit; certain religions could allow for polygamy, which could occur if the measure is passed due to the "misleading language".
- Former Governor George Sinner has come out against the measure arguing that there is no need for it and that it will actually take rights away from people. In an interview with KVRR, Sinner said, "Every individual has the right to his or her own choices and this will put the rights under control of a couple bishops."
- The North Dakota Women’s Network has passed a resolution in opposition to the measure. In a letter to the Bismark Tribune, co-chairwomen of the group, JoNell Bakke and Melissa Gillett, wrote, "The truth is, Measure 3 could lead to endless litigation and serious, even harmful, consequences for North Dakotans."
- The group North Dakotans Against Measure Three argues on their website that "If Measure 3 passes, it could allow a person to take advantage and use personal religious beliefs to claim the right to break important laws that are meant to protect all of us, like laws against child abuse, domestic violence and non-discrimination. This law could be manipulated and harm others."
Path to the ballot
- See also: North Dakota signature requirements
Amendment supporters were required to collect a minimum of 25,688 valid signatures by August 4, 2010 in order to place the measure on the 2010 ballot. However, as of the state's August petition drive deadline, supporters had only collected an estimated 22,000 signatures, falling short of the requirement.
Since the petition was valid for one year, petition organizers had until May 2, 2011, to submit signatures for the 2012 ballot. According to census numbers at the time, the measure required a minimum of 26,904 valid signatures in order to qualify for the 2012 ballot.
According to reports, in mid-April 2011 supporters submitted an estimated 30,000 petition signatures, exceeding the minimum requirement. Secretary of State Al Jaeger had until May 25, 2011, to verify the signatures.
The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:
|Deadline||Aug. 4 2010||Supporters miss filing deadline for the 2010 ballot.|
|Signature filing||Mid-Apr. 2011||Signatures were submitted by supporters to the secretary of state.|
|Signature verification||May 25, 2011||North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger confirmed that supporters collected sufficient signatures.|
| By Eric Veram|
Ballot measure writer
|Email • Submit a link|
- ↑ Associated Press,"N.D. proposal aims to lift 'burdens' off religion," April 23, 2010
- ↑ One News Now,"ND hopes to lift religious 'burdens'," April 30, 2010
- ↑ Yes on Measure 3 campaign website
- ↑ Measure 3 text, retrieved from Secretary of State, April 25, 2012
- ↑ North Dakota Secretary of State,"Initiative, religious freedom," retrieved April 22, 2011
- ↑ NDFA Blog, "Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment", Retrieved May 22, 2012
- ↑ OneNewsNow.com,"North Dakota's need for 'religious freedom' measure," June 10, 2011
- ↑ Yes on Measure 3 'Why it Matters' page
- ↑ KVRR "Former ND Gov. Calls Measure 3 Dangerous," May 21, 2012
- ↑ Bismark Tribune "Measure 3 would create loopholes," May 17, 2012
- ↑ North Dakota Against Measure Three, "Learn More", Retrieved May 22, 2102
- ↑ The Forum Fargo-Moorhead,"Religion amendment won’t be on fall ballot in North Dakota," August 5, 2010
- ↑ Associated Press,"ND 'religious freedom' petition submitted," April 21, 2011
- ↑ The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead,"‘Religious freedom’ measure OK’d for North Dakota ballot," May 27, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"'Religious freedom' measure approved by Jaeger for June primary ballot," May 25, 2011