North Dakota Primary Results: Ballot Measure 3, 'War On Religion,' Struck Down

In the North Dakota primary, one ballot measure reignited the Obama birth control battle from earlier this year, which saw religious activists up in arms over forced mandates, which they claimed infringed on their First Amendment rights of Freedom of religion.

In the end Ballot Measure 3 was struck down, with 64.58% voting no and 35.42% voting yes. 

Can government impose policies which are counter to religious beliefs? That was the question North Dakota voters faced.

Though the University of North Dakota’s sports mascot amendment to abolish the Fighting Sioux took headlines, it was Ballot Measure 3 which turned heads.

Called the Religious Liberty Restoration amendment, the measure would have added a clause to the state constitution stipulating that the government must have a “compelling interest” in order to “burden” a person whose actions or decisions are informed by religious belief and that the government should use the “least restrictive means to further that interest.”

What does that mean, exactly? The ballot was a sort-of extension of the Obama birth control mandate/ religion fight that erupted earlier this year. The question focused on whether or not government could mandate actions if they are counter to a person’s religious beliefs. Opponents (mainly of the liberal persuasion) have called the measure an attempt to codify workplace discrimination on the basis of religion.

The ballot battle was referred to as some as a “war on religion.”

This ballot measure could be prologue to a wider religious debate in the 2012 general elections. 

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Chris Miles

Chris has worked for media outlets including the Associated Press and Stars and Stripes. He worked with the Clinton Foundation, the United Nations, and with the Kentucky state legislature. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Louisville, and a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky. He is originally from Lexington, Ky. Kentucky basketball occupies a majority of his free time.

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