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Opponents of gay marriage say they're not bigots

They are moms and dads, authors and activists, a former police officer and a former single mom. They're black and white and Hispanic. One's a Roman Catholic archbishop, another an evangelical minister. Many have large families -- including gay members.

They are among the leading opponents of gay marriage, or as they prefer to be called, defenders of traditional marriage. And they're trying to stop an increasingly popular movement as it approaches two dates with history this week at the Supreme Court.

Georgetown conference explores secularism

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On Feb. 20, a conference at Georgetown University here focused on cleaning up what many Americans consider a dirty word -- secularism.

The goal of the conference, called “Secularism on the Edge: United States, France and Israel,” was to define what secularism is and what it is not. It drew participants from all three countries.

“[Secularism] is a guarantee of two things: freedom of religion and freedom from religion,” said conference organizer Jacques Berlinerblau, Georgetown professor of Jewish civilization.

Boston cardinal asks House to pass Health Care Conscience Rights Act

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Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has asked members of the House to approve the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

Introduced March 5 by three House Republicans, the bill had 66 co-sponsors as of Monday.

The bill will "help preserve the vitally important traditions of religious freedom and the right of conscience," O'Malley said in a letter to House members Monday.

Conscience-protection bill for HHS mandate introduced in House

Three Republican members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced a bill to protect conscience rights for both workers in the health care industry and for employers in light of the federal mandate requiring employers to cover contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

One of the sponsors, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said it is possible that the bill, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, could be folded into a continuing resolution being considered by the House to keep the federal government operating beyond March 27.

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July 18-31, 2014

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