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Forum staff reports, Published May 27 2011

‘Religious freedom’ measure OK’d for North Dakota ballot

BISMARCK – A North Dakota constitutional amendment about religious freedom will be on the state ballot next year.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said this week that the initiative’s supporters got enough signatures to put the issue to a vote. It will be Measure 3 on the June primary election ballot.

The proposed amendment says lawmakers may restrict religious behavior only if they have a compelling interest in doing so and if the regulation is done in the least restrictive way possible.

The amendment is intended to counter a U.S. Supreme Court decision that makes it easier for states to regulate religious practices.

The initiative’s sponsors include five state legislators and North Dakota’s two Roman Catholic bishops.

Jaeger says the petition had more than 28,000 valid signatures. It needed about 27,000 names.