- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2014

The majority of Catholic voters oppose religious health care exemptions, according to a survey released Monday by progressive Catholic advocacy groups.

Nearly three-quarters of Catholic voters surveyed said they do not support “a law that would allow companies or other institutions to use the owners’ religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to employees or customers.”

“Catholics do not want our government to create special rules and exemptions from the law,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, an advocacy group for gay Catholics. “This would violate our fundamental commitment to social justice and common good.”

The survey results were announced Monday during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Among the results: 67 percent of Catholic voters disapprove of employers denying birth control coverage to employees based on the company’s religious beliefs.

In addition, more than 50 percent of Catholic voters said they support physician-assisted suicide, and 70 percent said they support stem cell research.

The survey also found that 84 percent of Catholic voters support legal abortion in certain cases.

“Most Catholics don’t look to the church hierarchy as the sole arbiter of their moral decision making,” said Katie Jones, program coordinator for call to Action.

The survey was conducted in Sept. 3-9, and is based on answers from 1,054 Catholic registered voters. It has a margin of error plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

• Meredith Somers can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.

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