Both Sides React to Measure 3 Decision | VideoAlexander Gorney | 6/13/2012
"I was very disappointed in the outcome of that. It seems that a lot of misinformation was widely disseminated across the whole state of North Dakota." said Bishop David Kagan with the Bismarck Catholic Diocese.
By a nearly two to one ratio, voters did not want Measure 3.
"The percentages were larger than I thought I was grateful for that. I think thats good generally for the people of North Dakota. I think it`s good for the court system in North Dakota," said Pastor Tim Johnson with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
The Measure 3 debate came about after a 1990 Supreme Court ruling deciding that religious freedom was not a fundamental right, but that states would have the opportunity to make it a fundamental right.
Proponents, which include the state`s Catholic Conference, argued that Measure 3 would protect religion in North Dakota against initiatives such as requiring religious institutions to provide contraception coverage to employees in health insurance packages.
"I had really thought that people of North Dakota would want a restoration of what every state had before 1990," Kagan said.
Opponents, including some lutheran churches, argued that the language of the measure was too vague. They say if a person was to be arrested for a crime such as child abuse, domestic violence or marriage to minors, they could argue that they cannot be prosecuted because their religion allows for those actions.
"One of the statements that surprised and saddened me was the implication that they could no longer do their ministry unless Amendment 3 passed. They do marvelous ministry`s in many different ways and that is not going to stop in the future," Johnson said.
Both sides argue that the finish line on this issue is not yet in sight.
"We aren`t going to drop the matter. We`ll continue to work through all legal channels to ensure that the rights of conscience and religious freedom for all North Dakotans are certainly better guaranteed then they are right now," Kagan said.
"My suspicion is that it will reappear in a different form. I really hope that those of us on opposite sides on Amendment 3 can sit down and have conversations that we didn`t really have before this," Johnson said.
Voters in North Dakota could be seeing another religous ballot battle in elections to come.
Religious freedom laws have been passed in 27 states.