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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2014 04:20 PM
From: Representative Gordon Denlinger
To: All House members
Subject: Freedom of Conscience Amendment
William Penn, for whom our Commonwealth is named, established Pennsylvania as a haven for those seeking freedom of conscience and freedom to worship. These ideals have been debated and reexamined throughout our history and remain timely and important today. I believe that in a modern Pennsylvania we must be vigilant in protecting individual rights of conscience and those who live and act based on their sincerely held beliefs.

That is why I believe that the time has come to propose an amendment to the Commonwealth’s Constitution that will strengthen right of conscience protections for all Pennsylvanians. Specifically, I plan to propose a new section in Article I – the Pennsylvania “bill of rights” – that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provide services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs.

Further, under my proposed constitutional amendment, an individual or entity may not be found to have discriminated in making employment related decisions or providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges if the action was based on the sincerely held beliefs of the individual or entity.

We must be vigilant in protecting this core founding principal of our Commonwealth. I believe that my proposed constitutional amendment will serve to ensure that the actions of our modern-day government do not infringe upon individual rights of conscience.

I encourage you to consider cosponsoring this important and timely proposal. Thank you.