O.U., Christians petition court together


An Orthodox Jewish group joined Christian groups petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by a lower court they say violates First Amendment rights.

The Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs  filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday with the Association for Christian Schools International, the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists and the National Association of Evangelicals in the case of Catholic Charities of Albany v. Superintendent of Insurance. The case comes out of the state of New York’s enactment of the Women’s Health and Wellness Act, which requires group insurance policies that cover prescription drugs to also include coverage for contraceptives.

The act provides an exemption for religious employers, but so narrowly defines who is a religious employer that Catholic Charities and similar groups are excluded because they employ and provide services for non-Catholics.


“The ruling by the New York Court of Appeals that, in effect, Catholic Charities is not a religious organization and may be compelled by law to violate its religious tenets ought to be worrisome to people of all faiths,” said Nathan Diament, director of the O.U.’s Institute for Public Affairs. “The First Amendment demands appropriate exemptions and accommodations of religious practice and belief, and demands we not tolerate laws which pick favorites among faith for protections.”


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