Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

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Church State Issues

Rally vs. contraception coverage in Phoenix

Jun 10, 2012

Even if you think these programs are great, they do cross the boundary of separation of church and state and the government is telling religious folks how to run their religions.

Demonstration in Phoenix among 150 around U.S.

by Alex Stuckey - Jun. 9, 2012 08:43 PM

The Republic |

Linda Derringer endured 100-plus degree temperatures Friday to oppose a government mandate to force insurance companies to pay for contraception -- a responsibility she said could be taken out of her hands for less than a dollar.

"Go to the 99 cent store and buy a box of condoms," the 51-year-old Scottsdale resident said.

Derringer and an estimated 1,500 others gathered outside the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse in downtown Phoenix to stand up for their religious freedom as Americans, organizers said. They celebrated House Bill 2625, which allows religiously affiliated employers in Arizona to opt out of covering birth control or other forms of contraception in their health-insurance plans if they have religious objects to it.

The bill goes into effect on or after Aug. 2.

Bill opponents said the measure stepped on women's rights and would limit care.

"Freedom is not a word just for writers, politicians or fancy documents," said Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Phoenix Roman Catholic Diocese. "(Religious freedom) is not only our duty, it's our right."

Friday's rally was one of about 150 across the country denouncing a part of President Barack Obama's health-care reform, which mandates that employers include contraceptives in employees' health-insurance coverage.

Ralph Fecke, 62, of Phoenix, stood against a wall, clutching a sign that read: "Stand up for religious freedoms."

"We shouldn't require companies with religious principles to provide medical options they are against," Fecke said. "Who is the government going to come for next?"

As prayers for mothers and children echoed over the loud speaker, Michael Garibaldi, 38, of Scottsdale, said the issue isn't about contraception.

"(It's) about the current administration coming down against our rights," the father of four said.