Controversy Over Measure 3 | VideoJessica Roose | 5/31/2012
Measure 3 states that the government can not burden a person or religious organization`s religious liberty when motivated by a sincerely held religious belief. Unless a compelling governmental interest can be proven.
Tim Hathaway: "It will seriously undercut protection for child in our state. By opening the door for people to claim religious freedom, for a justification for maltreatment," said Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota Tim Hathaway.
Supporters say that`s just not the case and the state would always have a compelling interest when it came to the abuse of a child.
"The measure itself has language to protect from that. The state constitution already has language to protect from that. We have experience of all the other states and the federal government, which have already implemented what is in Measure 3," said Christopher Dodson with the North Dakota Catholic Conference.
Opponents are concerned about what will be considered compelling interest and worry people will claim that abuse is part of their religious belief.
"The government would have to prove it`s case each and every time someone takes advantage of the law. Giving those who take advantage of the law the upper hand. While taxpayers foot the bill for endless litigation," said Renee Stromme with the North Dakota Women`s Network.
"This wouldn`t happen in North Dakota and we have the examples from the other states and practices of the other states. Where it hasn`t lead to an increase in litigation or the ability of the state to enforce important laws," Dodson said.
Stromme says the other states can not be compared to North Dakota because ours would, if passed, allow individuals to challenge any burden on their religious beliefs.
Opponents also raised concerns about domestic abuse and situations where a pregnant, un-married woman could possibly be fired from her job if her employer claimed her status was against his or her sincerely held religious belief.