Rep. Kennedy: Religious exemptions can’t trump civil rights

Kennedy says religious freedom is sacred, but shouldn't harm others.

Joe Kennedy
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Congressman Joe Kennedy is pushing legislation that would ban religious exemptions from laws that guarantee fundamental civil and legal rights.

The Massachusetts Democrat says the bill is a response to what he calls ongoing attempts to cite religious beliefs as grounds to undermine civil rights protections, limit access to health care and refuse service to minority groups.

The bill would limit the use of such exemptions in cases involving discrimination, child labor and abuse, wages and collective bargaining, public accommodations and social services provided through government contracts.

Kennedy says religious freedom is sacred, but shouldn’t harm others.

Kennedy’s bill would amend the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he says is used by those seeking to impose their beliefs on others or claim that their faith justifies discrimination.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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