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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

View Poll Results: What do you think?
I disagree with this ruling. I favor separation of church and state. 2 16.67%
I disagree with this ruling. I want the government to stay out of the bedroom. 0 0%
Both of the above. 4 33.33%
None of the above. I agree with this ruling. I want the government in the bedroom and in religion. 0 0%
Other. 1 8.33%
I don't care. I just want to vote in this great poll! 0 0%
I don't care. But this poll is terrible! 5 41.67%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-20-06, 02:11 PM   #1
grundle
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State Court Rules Against Catholic Church on Insurance

I am against the government getting involved in either religion or in the bedroom. The government should not be doing this. This is a bad ruling.



http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/20/ny...=1&oref=slogin

State Court Rules Against Catholic Church on Insurance

By THOMAS J. LUECK

Published: October 20, 2006

New York State’s highest court ruled yesterday that the Roman Catholic Church and other religious organizations must abide by a state law that requires most employee health insurance policies to cover the cost of contraception.

The 6-to-0 decision by the Court of Appeals upheld rulings by the State Supreme Court and the Appellate Division, and left intact the state’s Women’s Health and Wellness Act of 2002, which requires company health insurance policies that provide coverage for prescription drugs to include “coverage for the cost of contraceptive drugs or devices.”

It had been challenged on religious grounds by a group that includes eight Catholic and two Baptist organizations. Arguing that the law requires them to violate the dictates of their faith, the group sought to exempt religious schools, hospitals and social service organizations, broadening a far narrower “religious employer” exemption already included in the state rules.

The New York State Catholic Conference, speaking for the state’s bishops, said it would consider appealing the ruling to the United States Supreme Court “to review it and reverse it.”

“The case is not about the right of New Yorkers to use contraception; it is about religious liberty,” said Richard E. Barnes, the group’s executive director. “In effect, the state has declared Catholic schools, hospitals and charitable organizations secular,” he said, adding that the ruling gave legislators “carte blanche to pass laws even more offensive to religious practice.”

The ruling followed a similar decision in 2004 by the California Supreme Court, which rejected a challenge by Catholic Charities to a nearly identical state statute. In that case, Catholic Charities was denied a hearing before the Supreme Court.

In New York, the Insurance Department was joined by the New York district of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress and other groups in defending the insurance regulation’s terms.

“This is a great day for the women of New York State,” said JoAnn M. Smith, president of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, which represents Planned Parenthood and other family planning groups.

“The urgent need to prevent discrimination in health care was rightly, and unanimously, affirmed by the highest court in the state,” she said.

The court’s 18-page decision said that legislators had intended the 2002 law to “advance both women’s health and the equal treatment of men and women.” It said a study considered by the Legislature had shown that women paid 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket expenses for health care, and that the discrepancy resulted mainly from the cost of reproductive health services.

In addition to contraceptives, the New York law requires employee insurance to cover osteoporosis exams and screenings for breast and cervical cancer.

In large measure, the issues raised in the case centered on an exemption for “religious employers,” who are not required to provide coverage for contraception. In those cases, the law requires insurance companies to offer the coverage to individual employees, which they can elect to pay by themselves.

But the exemption devised in 2002, and upheld by the court yesterday, does not apply to church schools, hospitals or organizations that employ and serve people from diverse religious backgrounds.

To qualify for the exemption, the organization must “primarily” employ and serve members of the same faith.

When the law was drafted, the court said, some legislators backed a broader definition.

“Those favoring a narrower exemption asserted that the broader one would deprive tens of thousands of women employed by church-affiliated organizations of contraceptive coverage,” the court said. “Their view prevailed.”
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Old 10-20-06, 02:22 PM   #2
Red Dog
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The CA SCt had an identical ruling several years ago. I believe these state laws violate the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st amendment. The US SCt declined to review the CA ruling. Now with another ruling, they may take it on, particularly given the new makeup of the Court.

Also, from a policy standpoint, government should not be in the business of mandating what should be required in private employer health-plans.

I don't like the way you phrased the poll options. This is a free exercise issue; not a church/state separation (establishment) issue. Also - no option on my policy argument. Therefore, I voted that your poll is terrible.
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Last edited by Red Dog; 10-20-06 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 10-20-06, 02:23 PM   #3
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They have to abide by the other employment laws in the state, they should abide by this one.
Quote:
In large measure, the issues raised in the case centered on an exemption for “religious employers,” who are not required to provide coverage for contraception. In those cases, the law requires insurance companies to offer the coverage to individual employees, which they can elect to pay by themselves.

But the exemption devised in 2002, and upheld by the court yesterday, does not apply to church schools, hospitals or organizations that employ and serve people from diverse religious backgrounds.

To qualify for the exemption, the organization must “primarily” employ and serve members of the same faith.
It would be one thing if all the people they employed agreed with the employer's religious views, but obviously, they don't and deserve the same treatment as other workers in the State of NY.
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Old 10-20-06, 02:31 PM   #4
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I think the title of the article is misleading too. It wasn't a church, it was an org that was run by the church but employed people of other faith.



I'm not sure how reproduction is an equlity thing

Quote:
The court’s 18-page decision said that legislators had intended the 2002 law to “advance both women’s health and the equal treatment of men and women.” It said a study considered by the Legislature had shown that women paid 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket expenses for health care, and that the discrepancy resulted mainly from the cost of reproductive health services.
if they dont pay for reproductive stuff for men or women, how is it equality. Women are different than men. They have different needs. Of course their costs will be different. But if they don't pay for reproductive stuff for either sex, i dont see that as discrimination
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Old 10-20-06, 02:39 PM   #5
grundle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
The CA SCt had an identical ruling several years ago. I believe these state laws violate the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st amendment. The US SCt declined to review the CA ruling. Now with another ruling, they may take it on, particularly given the new makeup of the Court.

Also, from a policy standpoint, government should not be in the business of mandating what should be required in private employer health-plans.

I don't like the way you phrased the poll options. This is a free exercise issue; not a church/state separation (establishment) issue. Also - no option on my policy argument. Therefore, I voted that your poll is terrible.
Thanks for explaining why you thought my poll was terrible.

I view this ruling as violating separation of church and state, and also as the government sticking its nose in the bedroom. That's why I did the poll the way I did.
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Old 10-20-06, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinVega
They have to abide by the other employment laws in the state, they should abide by this one.

It would be one thing if all the people they employed agreed with the employer's religious views, but obviously, they don't and deserve the same treatment as other workers in the State of NY.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution trumps any state employment laws.
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Old 10-20-06, 02:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venusian
I think the title of the article is misleading too. It wasn't a church, it was an org that was run by the church but employed people of other faith.



I'm not sure how reproduction is an equlity thing



if they dont pay for reproductive stuff for men or women, how is it equality. Women are different than men. They have different needs. Of course their costs will be different. But if they don't pay for reproductive stuff for either sex, i dont see that as discrimination
I think the title would have been better if it had said, "Court rules against separation of church and state, and in favor of government intrusion into the bedroom."
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Old 10-20-06, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
I don't like the way you phrased the poll options. This is a free exercise issue; not a church/state separation (establishment) issue. Also - no option on my policy argument. Therefore, I voted that your poll is terrible.
Call me Clarence Thomas, because I voted the way Scalia Red Dog did.
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Old 10-20-06, 02:51 PM   #9
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this sucks

my wife works for an organization owned by the Catholic Church and they abortion/contraception money is used for better coverage in other areas and things like fertility treatment that many other companies don't cover

and they pay a lot better than many other companies for the same job
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Old 10-20-06, 02:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle
The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution trumps any state employment laws.
The state is not establishing a religion here. They are not restricting anyone from practicing their faith.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinVega
They are not restricting anyone from practicing their faith.
That's exactly what they are restricting.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:02 PM   #12
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Hmm...what if the catholic church ruled, by pope fiat, that no women should have coverage for neo-natal care if they weren't married. Would it be okay to deny them that type of care, via the 1st amendment?
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Old 10-20-06, 03:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
That's exactly what they are restricting.
Denying people medical coverage is one of the tennants of a religion?

The employer can still go to church if they want.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkessenz
Hmm...what if the catholic church ruled, by pope fiat, that no women should have coverage for neo-natal care if they weren't married. Would it be okay to deny them that type of care, via the 1st amendment?

You mean would it be constitutional? Yes, I believe so.

Does that make it okay? No, I believe it would be silly. However, silly does not equal unconstitutional.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
You mean would it be constitutional? Yes, I believe so.
I mean, would that argument trump the state law? You think that denying medical coverage is an acceptable exercise of religious freedom?

Last edited by darkessenz; 10-20-06 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinVega
Denying people medical coverage is one of the tennants of a religion?

Poor question.

Setting up a health coverage plan that is consistent with the tenets of one's religion is certainly within the parameters of free exercise.
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Last edited by Red Dog; 10-20-06 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkessenz
I mean, would that argument trump the state law? You think that denying medical coverage is an acceptable expression of religion? (covered by the free expression clause)?

Free expression?

You mean free exercise.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:11 PM   #18
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doh, yes exercise
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Old 10-20-06, 03:13 PM   #19
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Because it is acting as an employer, I believe that providing particular types of benefits for its employees should not be covered under the free exercise clause (except maybe in the case where the employees are directly employed to run the church).
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Old 10-20-06, 03:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkessenz
Hmm...what if the catholic church ruled, by pope fiat, that no women should have coverage for neo-natal care if they weren't married. Would it be okay to deny them that type of care, via the 1st amendment?
They certainly should have that right. Health Care is a benefit offer by employers. The plans are not always the same, and some offer more than others. The benefits that a company offers should be a determining factor when deciding if you want to work there.

My health care plan doesn't cover some meds that other plans do. Sure it sucks when I have to pay full price for the med, but that is life. Should all health care plans be identical? Should I take my company to court because my plan does not cover the $60 bottle of eye drops I needed for my son a while ago?
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Old 10-20-06, 03:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinVega
The employer can still go to church if they want.

So if the government passed a law that prohibited prayer in a public place or place of public accomodation, that would not violate free exercise because a person praying can always go to church and pray there if they want?
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Old 10-20-06, 03:15 PM   #22
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They certainly should have that right. Health Care is a benefit offer by employers. The plans are not always the same, and some offer more than others. The benefits that a company offers should be a determining factor when deciding if you want to work there.
They are free to offer no benefits until a state law directs them to do otherwise.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:19 PM   #23
Venusian
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so if they offer some benefits, they should offer all? (all as defined by the state)
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Old 10-20-06, 03:22 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
So if the government passed a law that prohibited prayer in a public place or place of public accomodation, that would not violate free exercise because a person praying can always go to church and pray there if they want?
They can pray anywhere they want.
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Old 10-20-06, 03:29 PM   #25
darkessenz
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so if they offer some benefits, they should offer all? (all as defined by the state)
In this case, they are bound by the same laws as all other employers, so yes.

What if the leaders of a corporation were very religious, should they be able to remove contraception benefits based on their views? Why is providing benefits at all related to free exercise of religion, except in the case where the employers themselves are performing religious functions?
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